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Thread: Burns on fingers - help

  1. #1
    Senior Member Clipper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Portland, Oregon

    Burns on fingers - help

    I burned three fingers tonight while handling a hot plate. A blister has formed on my thumb and the two other affected fingers are red and warm to the touch. No other blisters quite yet, but the one finger looks like one might have formed and popped. I have no feeling in my finger tips, so I didn't notice immediately. Any special treatment? Should I look for anything in particular?

  2. #2
    clipper, it may be too late of course... The next time that you think that you may have burned your fingers, run cold or cool water on it immediately to cool it down (from the faucet). This helps reduce the tissue damage. There are a variety of burn ointments that can be purchased in any pharmacy. Most of them are just to cover up the burn. I don't think that any of the commercial ointments are better than others but it is a good idea to cover up the burn with some dressing (depending on how bad it is). If you have more than blistering, i.e. there is damage to the underlying tissue or is involves more than a square centimeter of tissue, you should see a doctor. Wise.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Summerhill, Pa
    My husband had burned his right hand fingers sitting to close to a space heater. He had 2nd degree burns, I applied silvadene ( the best burn med. I was told) you need a prescription for it. I applied it and kept them wrapped. It took about a month for them to heal, I was told the healing is faster with silvadene than other burn creams. Good luck

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Wisconsin USA
    My SCI doc saw what he thought were pressure sores on my fingers and told me to put the same zinc bacticen (sp?) ointment on them I do other cuts and scraps. They were actually blisters from raking the lawn. I was trying to embarass the neighbors into turning off those damn leaf blowers. Anyhoo...he said the ointment works well on places you can monitor. If getting dirt in the wound is a problem try a good washing, pat dry and apply Liquid Bandaid to the area.

    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

  5. #5
    Serious hand burns should always be seen and followed by a physician. Please see your physician right away (or go to the ER). Infection or scarring in the fingers or hand can cause serious contractures and loss of functions such as tenodesis.

    Silvadene is a long-used treatment for burns, but I would ask about one of the newer, less cytotoxic silver-based jels or creams that have come on the market in the last year or two. They all require a prescription.


  6. #6
    If the burns are serious, then you may need to see physician, but if not, then just keeping it clean with dressing to cover, should be ok. Even with blistering, if the area is small, you shouldn't pop it but allow it to drain on it's own. This will keep your skin from being exposed and reduce risk of infection.

    Silvadene is an antibiotic, mostly used on open burns. Maybe your dr./nurse can send Rx to your pharmacist, if you feel you need it (may/may not require you to see dr). I've had frequent burns, in varying degrees. Small burns however, even those blistering, I just try to keep clean and covered until healed. I usually have some silvadene handy, just in case.

    KLD, how is a cytotoxic silver-based gel or cream better/preferable to silvadene?

    KLD/Nurses/Wise, also, your thoughts on silvadene on non-open burns, even once open burns that have closed but is still tender and red (healing skin): Can silvadene inhibit healing and new cell regeneration etc, preventing proper healing and possibly causing more damage even?

    Are there ointments that can be put on healing and/or superficial burns to reduce scarring/hyperpigmentation? (ie after silvadene or any antibiotic is no longer necessary, after open wounds have closed)

  7. #7
    Silvadene is much MORE cytotoxic than the new silver-based gels and ointments. While Silvadene does a good job holding down bacterial growth, it does this at the cost of also slowing regrowth of healing cells (primarily fibroblasts). The newer products inhibit healing cell growth much less than Silvadene.

    Once a wound is closed, it is best to just leave it alone. Avoid using products such as vitamin E or aloe. While they may reduce scarring they do so at the expense of making the scar weaker. Serious scarring such as keloids may need treatment with steroid creams or injections, but such treatment should be done under the direction of a experienced dermatologist or plastic surgeon.


  8. #8
    Thanks everybody for all their responses. Clipper description of her burn indicated that two fingers looked red and one finger might have a blister that popped. Unless this has progressed since yesterday, I don't think that this is a case where antibiotics or silver-containing ointments would be appropriate. I agree with KLD that once the wound is closed, it is best to protect it and let it heal.


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