Q: What do you think of burn gels, specifically those containing tea tree oil? A practitioner from a burn center recently made a comment during a web presentation that we in the field should stop using cool, wet towels in favor of a burn gel for partial thickness burns. I have not found FDA approval for their use.
A: There is a lot of art in the practice of burn care. As I have traveled the country and the world, I have heard competent people insist that they have found the best way to treat burns. Not surprisingly, they do not all use the same products. I suspect that this is often a matter of preference and habit rather than proven superiority.
Cool compresses are utilized to stop the burning process. This is usually complete within 1/2 hour, and probably less. Although continued use makes things feel better, there is really no extra therapeutic benefit. And, prolonged cooling of a large surface area burn can cause hypothermia
Tea tree oil? I don’t know. I have heard aloe vera and honey endorsed, too. What matters? After making sure that critical system issues are addressed and the burning process is neutralized, all burns should be cleaned, protected and monitored.
When it is comes to wound and burn care, more often than not, good nursing care trumps any particular product.