Eggs, Butter, Flour Not A Recipe For Burns

7NEWS was alerted to an email promoting putting egg whites on burns. Other email chains suggest flour and butter.

It is not a good idea to put any food on your burn.

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s there were some doctors who speculated that putting egg whites on burns could help.

However, it is important to remember that in those times there were no antibiotics, little understanding of bacteria, and people were getting blood letting and arsenic as treatments

Since then, we’ve learned that one of the most important treatments for burns is to prevent infections.

So, it is not recommended to put anything except water on burns - and third degree burns should not even have water applied.

Types Of Burns

Burns are categorized based on how deep into the skin they have penetrated.

First Degree burns are more on the surface. They cause pain and a reddened area and have affected only the superficial part of the skin. These are generally minor unless they involve large areas of skin, are on the hands, feet, groin or around a joint

First degree can be treated at home unless they involve a large area of skin, or if they are on the hands and feet, go most of the way around an extremity, or if they are in the groin area.

Second Degree burns are deeper, and are characterized by blister formation in addition to the redness and pain. the second-degree burn is no larger than 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) in diameter, treat it as a minor burn.

If the burned area is larger or if the burn is on the hands, feet, face, groin or buttocks, or over a major joint, treat it as a major burn and get medical help immediately.

Second degree burns less than 3 inches in diameter can be treated at home.

Third Degree burns are the deepest and most dangerous. These burns have penetrated through the skin - and can even involve deeper tissues - this is always a medical emergency.

Treatment of Minor Burns

  • Cool the it under cool running water for ten to fifteen minutes
  • Apply a sterile bandage of guaze; Do not use cotton balls
  • Take over the counter pain medications
  • Never put water on a third degree burn

If the burned area develops pus or redness spreading out from it you need to see a doctor

For all other burns - you should go to the emergency room and get medical attention - there are many things the physician will do to prevent infection and help promote proper healing by using special ointments, antibiotics and dressings.

Dr. McCallister is on 7NEWS at 11 a.m. every Wednesday. If you have a topic or question you would like her to discuss, email

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