How to Prevent Burn Injury Infection
Binding the bacteria in burn wounds has proven to be an effective way to avoid infection.
In 2011 alone, 486,000 patients received medical attention for burn injuries, according to figures published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These wounds are particularly susceptible to infection, which requires medical professionals to be frequently updated on the healing process.
Without the necessary treatment, burns that become contaminated could result in the death of the patient. According to a study from the Journal of the American College of Surgeons which looked at mortality rates among military and civilian burn casualties, infection was responsible for 61 percent of deaths. It is critical for healthcare providers to reduce the possibility of infection. Here’s how they can do just that:
Binding the bacteria
Over the years, dangerous microorganisms that cause infection have become resistant to a variety of drugs. Instead of killing the bacteria, new research from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that binding them could be more effective.
“…They could not find the places where they normally stick to the host (body’s) cells,” said Dr. Steven Wolf, Section Chief for Burns and professor of surgery at UT. “If bacteria cannot bind, they cannot grow.”
In addition to reducing the chance of infection, this strategy was found to aid wound healing and maintain normal inflammatory response to the wound.
Share nutrition tips
A person’s diet plays a large role in wound healing. It’s crucial for patients to ensure they’re getting the right kinds of nutrients and proteins to aid in the process, so medical professionals should educate people about what food, drinks and supplements to consume.
The University of Maryland Medical Center recommended the following:
- Drink lots of water, six to eight glasses per day.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Eat lean meats, fish, bean and soy products to build protein intake.
- Cut out refined foods and unhealthy cooking oils.
- Focus on antioxidant-rich foods to enhance cell health and recovery.
- Talk to your doctor about what supplements – such as fish oil, Coenzyme Q10 or Vitamin C – are best.
Keep dressing clean
It’s common for healthcare providers to suggest that wounds be exposed to a fair amount of oxygen to aid in the healing process. This will likely depend on the stage of the injury. In addition to keeping hands clean during cleansing steps, patients and medical professionals should discuss the importance of keeping dressings sterile. This action keeps bacteria away from the wound and reduces the likelihood of infection.
Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients, delivering to both homes and long-term care facilities.