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Are there alternative treatments for electrical burns?

Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
Electrical burns  patients should be treated for possible dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, cardiac monitoring and treatment of the burn areas. Large burns require large intravenous catheters with monitors (including urine output). Laboratories should be drawn to evaluate blood counts, white count, electrolytes, and type and cross. Cardiac monitoring is vital due to electric activity through the heart and arrthymias, and changes in blood pressure. The burn areas may require tangential debridement followed by skin grafting after dressing changes with antibiotics creams (silivadene or sulfamylon). These patients must be attended to in a qualified burn team in an ICU burn unit.

Minor electrical burns may be able to be treated at home, but you should use a burn cream or antibiotic ointment and a bandage. You may have heard that oily substances such as butter and petroleum jelly are good alternative treatments, however, avoid these. These kinds of materials actually keep heat in the wound, potentially increasing the damage. They also raise the possibility of developing an infection. More serious electrical burns will require emergency medical attention.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.