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What if you could fix second-degree burns with a spray can? What if I told you it’s been going on for years?
It sounds unbelievable, but it’s true. Doctors recently saved the life of 21-year old Tiara Del Rio by using a “skin spray” that allowed new tissue to grow. After a gas leak explosion in her Phoenix, AZ home, Del Rio suffered first-and-second burns to over 60% of her body and had to be placed into a medically-induced coma. Her family discovered ReCell, a spray-on medicine produced in Australia that treats second-degree burns with a solution derived from the burn victim’s skin cells.
The product – already on the market in China and much of Europe – is still facing FDA approval. Del Rio's family had to obtain special permission to use it. Ultimately, the ReCell treatment saved her life, and she’ll be able to go home soon.
Only time will tell if ReCell passes clearance and becomes available to American patients, so don’t throw out your first aid kit just yet. For now, here are a few things you do to stay prepared on a daily basis, and prevent minor burns.
Cool the burn. - Common burns - the kind you get from touching a hot iron or boiling water - often prove the most frustrating. After running the inflicted area under cold water for a few minutes, apply ointment as needed.
Keep the proper bandages in stock. - Bandaids won’t be enough for most burns. Select dressing specifically designed to maintain the moisture balances needed for optimal healing. Generally speaking, foam dressings are the most effective, especially those infused with gel formulas (or, believe it or not, honey)!
Be wary of possible infection. Change your dressing daily, and always with clean hands. Burns typically heal just fine, but keep an eye out for signs of infection (redness, swelling, pus). And no matter how tempting it may seem, don’t scratch the often-itchy blisters that may form as your skin heals.
Manage and soothe pain. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen can manage the aches and pains sustained from most burns. Aloe vera gel works wonders in cooling the sensitive area gently, and should always be chosen over other ointments or creams, which can cause infection.
Know when to get help. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can manage the aches and pains sustained from minor burns. Be sure to consult a doctor if the burn covers an area greater than 2-3 inches in diameter or is located on your face, extremities, private parts, or over a major joint such as the knee or shoulder.
With any hope, the days of painful skin grafts will soon be over, leaving new alternatives like Recell can lead the way. In the mean time, stay safe - and keep a cool head.
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