D – Dress

Minor burns need to be covered with a dressing to maintain a moist wound healing environment, minimise the risk of infection and reduce pain. There are many different products available for wound healing and there is no definitive evidence identifying the best dressing for burn injuries. Dressing choice should be determined by components of the wound assessment including:

Amount of Exudate

In the initial stages following burn injury (<72 hours), the superficial burn will usually be moist due to the effects of inflammatory mediators. Dressing that can absorb moisture would prevent maceration and breakdown. Consider dressings such as foams, alginates, or other products such as silicone or paraffin gauze dressings with adequate secondary padding.

Burn Depth

By their very nature, minor burns have already been assessed as superficial dermal in depth and capable of healing conservatively, so standard dressing products are suitable. Silver and antimicrobial dressings are only indicated when the burn is deep, contaminated or infected.


It is unlikely that an acute first presentation burn injury will show signs of infection, however if it was contaminated at the time of injury or during first aid, a silver or antimicrobial dressing should be considered to minimise the risk of infection. Consider absorbent antimicrobial dressings such as silver hydrofibres, silver foams or ActiCoat.

Visit the Dressing Selection tab for more information regarding dressing choice. As a rule, minor burns are considered superficial in depth, so a Standard Dressing product would be suitable based on the exudate content of the wound.


The Alfred Hospital gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support and contribution of Skilled Medical in funding this project.  For more information on Skilled Medical, please visit www.skilledmedical.com
Supported by:

Ambulance Victoria The Alfred Victorian Adult Burn Services at The Alfred The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne