Whether you have spent a little too much time outdoors, scalded your tongue on hot coffee, or gotten splattered by oil while cooking, burns are a common occurrence in life.
While we don't usually visit the doctor for every single burn, one lady learnt the hard way that home remedies can sometimes cause more harm than good.
After getting scalded by hot oil, she decided to apply toothpaste to the burn on her hand. Unfortunately, it was a bad idea -- her hand swelled up until it was completely misshapen and unrecognisable.
On June 11, Malaysian doctor Dr Kamarul Ariffin shared the shocking image on Twitter, warning against using home remedies such as toothpaste, gamat (sea cucumber) oil, flour, soy sauce or eggs for burns. These home remedies can cause infection and inflammation, he wrote.
Here's what you should do if you get a burn, according to the good doctor:
- Remove the affected area from the source of heat. Remain calm.
- Next, remove burned clothing, jewellery, and watches unless they are stuck.
- Rinse the area with clean, room temperature water for 15-20 minutes. Avoid using cold water or ice.
- Do not pop any blisters.
Next, determine the severity of the burn. Dr Ariffin says that burns on the skin can be divided into three degrees of severity:
- First-degree burn: The skin is red and painful.
- Second-degree burn: The skin is red, painful and blistered.
- Third-degree burn: The skin looks white. There is no pain as the nerves have been damaged.
You should definitely see a doctor if you have a second- or third-degree burn. You should also seek medical attention if the burn is larger than your palm or on sensitive areas such as the face or genitals.
We already know that toothpaste and burns are not a good mix. But did you know that you should stay clear of these "remedies" as well?
Save your butter for your toast. Do not apply butter to a burn as it will retain heat, which can aggravate burns. It may also contain bacteria that can cause infections.
Some claim that spreading raw egg whites onto a burn can help relieve pain but there is little evidence to support this egg-centric myth. Egg whites will also introduce bacteria to the burn wound and cause inflammation.
BLOWING ON WOUNDS
We might have fond memories of our mother blowing on a wound to "cure" it. Some mothers even take it one step further and spit on tissues to clean up a wound.
However, introducing saliva to a wound does not help at all. It can even worsen wounds because our mouths are full of bacteria.
Remember to do your research before trying out any home remedy. After all, it's better safe than sorry!