Why shouldn't I treat a burn with ice?

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Dr. Joe M. Llenos, MD
Family Practitioner

You shouldn't treat a burn with ice because it can injure the skin and trigger frostbite. In this video, Joe Llenos, MD, from West Valley Medical Group - Caldwell, recommends running cool water for a burn.

Burns shouldn't be treated with ice because it can make the body too cold. The affected area that comes in direct contact with the ice can become so cold that additional damage is done. Room-temperature or cool water is best as ice water can pose the same potential problems as ice.

Dr. Deborah Raines, MSN
Nursing Specialist

There are two major reasons for NOT treating a burn with ice. First the ice can cause further damage to the tissue and even result in frost-bite, if left in contact with the tissue too long. The burn may expose underlying tissue which is fragile and more likely to be damaged by exposure to ice. Also if the skin surrounding the burn is damaged by the ice it may impede the healing process. The other reason is specific to second and third degree burns in which the epidermal surface of the skin is damaged. Putting ice directly on these burns can cause a burn victims body temperature to become to cold which places them at risk for additional complications.

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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.