How to Treat a Burn That Is Infected?

Burned tissue or skin gets easily infected because the skin has lost its ability to protect the underlying tissues from microorganisms and debris. Fluids from blood vessels also leak onto the wound and cause the tissue to swell. Second- and third-degree burns are especially prone to infection because of severe damage to the underlying tissues. An infected burn may have pus, appear redder than before or have red streaks on the skin near the wound. Preventing and treating infections of major burns involves use of prescription drug silver sulfadiazine.

Step 1

Gently run cool water over the burned area to clean the wound. Remove loose, dead or burned skin and other debris slowly and gently using sterile tweezers. An infected burn may have pus or fluid-filled blisters. Do not break any blisters. If pus is oozing, gently apply pressure with sterile gauze to remove pus. Trim dead skin from popped blisters using sterile scissors.

Step 2

Cover the cleaned wound with a thin layer of silver sulfadiazine cream. Always wear sterile gloves when applying the cream.

Step 3

Keep the wound covered with the medicine all the time and reapply as necessary. Apply dressing or bandage to the wound only on doctor's advice.

Step 4

Apply silver sulfadiazine until the burn heals completely or the skin is ready for grafting.

Things You'll Need

  • Sterile gloves

  • Silver sulfadiazine cream

  • Sterile gauze or dressing

Tips

Always use sterile gloves when cleaning wounds. Maintain the dosing schedule for silver sulfadiazine. If you miss a dose, apply cream as soon as you remember. Keep the medicine at room temperature and out of reach of children.

Warning

  1. Silver sulfadiazine is a prescription drug and common side effects may include pain, burning and itching.
  2. Call your doctor if you experience unusual bleeding or bruising, fever, sore throat, blood in urine, yellowing of the skin or eyes, unusual weakness or tiredness or skin rash.
  3. Inform your doctor of any allergies to the drug, sulfa drugs or any other drugs. Inform your doctor about other medications you are taking. Tell your doctor if you have ever had kidney or liver disease. Tell doctor if you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or nursing.
  4. Silver sulfadiazine should not be used on infants less than 2 months of age.
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