Burns (minor thermal) Academic Article uri icon


  • Superficial burns that affect the epidermis and upper dermis only are characterised by redness of the skin that blanches on pressure, pain, and hypersensitivity. The skin blisters within hours and usually heals with minimal scarring within 2 to 3 weeks if no infection is present. Most minor burns occur in the home, with less than 5% requiring hospital treatment.We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical question: What are the effects of treatments for minor thermal burns? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to October 2008 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).We found eight systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: alginate dressing; antibiotics; chlorhexidine-impregnated paraffin gauze dressing; foam dressing; hydrocolloid dressing; hydrogel dressing; paraffin gauze dressing; polyurethane film; silicone-coated nylon dressing; and silver sulfadiazine cream.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009