How Burns Affect The Body

Skin is nourished by blood vessels, which release fluid when damaged. When the skin is cut, blood is lost; when our skin is burned, blood plasma (protein) is lost. Plasma is the fluid part of the blood in which the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are suspended. That makes plasma the extracellular matrix of blood cells. Plasma makes up approximately 55 percent of the volume of blood in our body. Plasma itself comprises about 92 percent water, 7 percent protein and 1 percent vitamins, minerals, sugars, fats and hormones.


Blood is considered to be a specialized type of connective tissue. The function of connective tissue is to bind other tissues in the body together. When you suffer a small burn a blister usually forms. The fluid in the blister is plasma. When a large area of the skin is burned, great quantities of plasma are lost. This causes an instability in our blood chemistry and affects all of our body’s systems. Due to this reason, and because of the long-lasting danger of infection, major burns are a threat to life for many days or weeks.

Treating electrical burns frequently requires drastic emergency measures. If the burn victim has been in contact with alternating current, such as that in home wiring, or has been struck by lightning, the resulting shock can be fatal. Artificial respiration is essential to maintain breathing or to restart the heart. A burn from electricity is often worse than it appears. This is due to tissues far below the surface of the skin that can be severely damaged.

Due to infections being the leading cause of death relating to serious burns, antibiotics are usually given. The effects of a severe burn usually causes normal protective functions of our immune-system to be depressed. This means that the burn victim's body is less able to support itself against invading bacteria. After shock has been controlled, antimicrobial ointments such as Silver Sulfadiazine, Mafenide, Silver Nitrate, and Providone-Iodine are applied to the burns during the time the wounds are open. These medications help reduce the risk of infection. Bacitracin may be used for first-degree burns. One study found that parrafin gauzes are valuable for superficial burns while silver-based dressings are preferable for deep burns.


Antibiotics, such as Oxacillin, Mezlocillin, and Gentamicin help treat an infection. Antibiotics are also used when the risk that the burn survivor will develop an infection is high. This usually occurs; for example, when a large portion of the burn survivor’s body is burned.

Mfenide Acetate 5% (MAF) is often used with topical Miconazole and Nystatin, and systemic antifungal agents including Amphotericin B (AMPHB), Itraconazole and Fluconazole in vitro.

Alternative Compounded Topical Medications:

Ketoprofen is in a group of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. It is often used to treat pain and/or inflammation.

Misoprostol is a synthetic prostaglandin that is used for pain and various inflammatory conditions.

Phenytoin is an oral anticonvulsant with a noted side effect of tissue hyperplasia which may be advantageous to tissue growth.

Allantoin is a compound naturally produced by many organisms, including animals, plants, and bacteria. By increasing the capacity of corneocytes to bind water, it promotes the renewal of epidermal cells and promotes healing. It strengthens the skin’s natural protective barrier. It has also been seen to improve its moisture retention, providing a smoothing effect to the skin. It is a frequent ingredient in lotions and skin creams and medications for dermatological conditions.

Also during treatment particular attention is paid to the burn survivors diet due to the fact that burn patients need to consume a huge number of calories. It is very important to see a doctor if you suffered second or third degree burns. Ask your doctor which supplements are best for you. Tell your doctor about the herbs and supplements you are using or considering using, as some supplements may interfere with conventional treatments.

The following tips may improve your healing and general health:

   - Avoid caffeine, tea, alcohol, tobacco and other stimulants.

   - Cut down or do not eat trans-fatty acids, that are found in commercially baked goods: cakes, cookies, crackers, donuts, french fries, margarine, onion rings and processed foods.

   - Eat antioxidant foods that include fruits (such as blueberries, cherries, and tomatoes), and vegetables (such as squash and bell peppers). One study found that high doses of vitamin C after a burn reduced fluid requirements by 40%. It also reduced burn tissue water content 50%, and finally it reduced ventilator days.

   - It is important to drink 6 to 8 glasses of filtered water daily.

   - Stay away from refined foods, such as white breads, pastas, and sugar.

   - You can benefit from eating fewer red meats and more lean meats, cold-water fish, tofu (soy) or beans for protein.

   - Use healthy cooking oils, such as olive oil or coconut oil.

If you suffered moderate to severe burn, you might want to ask your doctor if the following supplements may help you.

    • Coconut Oil: After a burn heals, applying coconut oil topically has been see to be helpful for reconditioning and moisturizing the skin.

    • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): This is a nutrient that occurs naturally in the body. Taking 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 at bedtime acts as an antioxidant, which protects cells from damage and plays an important part in the metabolism. CoQ10 may also have a blood-clotting effect, can interact with blood-thinning medications (anticoagulant/antiplatelet drugs) and can slightly lower blood pressure. CoQ10 is also used to treat heart failure and other heart conditions, possibly helping to improve some symptoms and lessen future cardiac risks when combined with regular medications, but the evidence is conflicting.

    • Daily Multivitamin: Take a multivitamin that contains the following antioxidant vitamins: A,B-complex, C, E and trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium, selenium and zinc.

    • L-glutamine: This the most abundant amino acid in the bloodstream. At burn units glutamine may be given to a burn survivor in order to complement medical care. This amino acid has been given through a feeding tube, by pills, liquid nutrition supplements, or by increasing protein in the burn survivors diet. Taking 500 to 1,000 mg, 3 times daily, of this amino acid has been seen to offer support to your gastrointestinal health and immunity. Glutamine is key to boosting your brain health. High doses of glutamine can affect mood particularly in patients with mania. Glutamine has been found to increase muscle growth and decrease muscle wasting. This may help you during recovery and maintaining muscles after recovery. There is some concern that people who are sensitive to MSG (monosodium glutamate) may also be sensitive to Glutamine. People with hepatic encephalopathy, severe liver disease with confusion, or a history of seizures, should not take Glutamine. Glutamine can interact with certain medications, so speak with your physician.

    • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acid can be found in fish oil and in plant sources such as nuts and seeds. Taking 1 to 2 capsules or 1 tbsp of oil, 1 to 2 times a day can help fight depression, reduce inflammation, and for healing and immunity. Good sources of Omega-3 fatty acid from fish are Catfish, Cod, Flounder, Grouper, Halibut, Mackerel, Mahi mahi, Red snapper, Salmon, Swordfish and Tuna (canned, light) to name a few. Cold-water fish, are good sources, but you may need a supplement to get a higher dose. Omega-3 fatty acids can interact with blood-thinning medications such as warfarin (Coumadin) and aspirin, and may decrease clotting time.

    • Probiotic Supplement: Probiotics are bacteria that line your digestive tract and support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection. They are often called "good" or "helpful" bacteria. Probiotics benefits have been proven effective in supporting immune function, reducing inflammation, promoting healthy digestion, as well as maintaining beautiful skin. Lactobacillus Acidophilus is the most common probiotic. You find it in yogurt and other fermented foods. Antibiotics can upset the balance of bacteria in your intestines. Probiotics or "friendly" bacteria can help restore the balance, improving gastrointestinal and immune health. The top ten probiotics are kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, coconut kefir, natto, yogurt, kvass, miso, kombucha and raw dairy.

    • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. That means it will dissolve in water. Vitamin C is needed for our normal growth and development. Taking 1,000 mg, 2 to 6 times per day can help your skin heal by causing new tissue growth and strength. If diarrhea develops you should take a lower dosage. It is important to speak to your doctor before you take vitamin C. The doctor can help with the dosage and if any issues occur.

    • Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is found in foods. Good sources of vitamin E are leafy greens, margarine, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. By taking 400 to 800 IU a day of Vitamin E you can be promoting healing in your body. It has been found that once a burn has healed and new skin has formed, you can use Vitamin E topically. Vitamin E oil has been found to help heal minor burns that do not require medical treatment. The antioxidant properties in Vitamin E moisturize and soothe the burned area. It also has some antibiotic properties, that makes it safe to use on first degree burned skin. Vitamin E can also help prevent infections. You should talk to your doctor before taking vitamin E.