Ongoing Wound Care

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Ongoing Management of A Minor Burn Injury

Burns wounds are dynamic and as such, different dressings will be required as the wound moves through different stages of healing.

Frequently in the first 24-72 hours post injury, significant exudate is produced. During this period, an absorbent dressing maybe required. After this inflammatory phase has passed, the wound produces less exudate and a dressing with less absorbency capacity is required. Once the wound is rid of non-viable tissue and healthy tissue is being produced, the aim is to minimise dressing changes which disturb

There is no single dressing that is best suited for the management of all burn wounds. In minor burn wounds which are expected to heal without complication, assess the burn and apply basic wound healing principles to determine the qualities required for a dressing and select from the availability locally and using the clinicians preference.

The table below provides an overview of the overriding wound management principles as the wound moves beyond the acute phase through the stage of healing.

Ongoing Management of Small Burn Injures

Ongoing Management of a Minor Burn Injury

Ongoing Management of a Minor Burn Injury
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PhaseImmediate PhaseExudative Phase Destructive PhaseHealing PhaseMaturation Phase
Time Frame0 – 3 hours0 – 72 hours3 days14 daysUp to 18 months
burn wound-day 1

Day 1

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burn wound-day 3

Day 3

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Burn Wound - day 11

Day 11

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Burn Wound - 2 months

2 months

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Wound Management GoalsStop the burning process

Cool the burn
Absorb exudate

Preserve damaged but viable tissue

Manage oedema
Debride slough and non viable tissue

Minimise risk of infection
Protect healing tissue

Avoid re -trauma
Appropriate scar management techniques
Dressing QualitiesCool running water up to 20 minutesAbsorbent dressingsDressings which facilitate debridement

Hydrating dressings (if slough is dry)
Protective dressingsScar reduction
Dressing OptionsHydrogels (only if water not available)Silicones Alginates


Hydrocolloids (moderate exudate)

Consider silver dressings if deep, infected or contaminated burns

Silver products


Thin weave paraffin



Non-adherent dressings
Unperfumed moisturiser

Hypoallergenic sun screen


Cica care


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
Supported by:

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