Prevent heat loss

Patients with severe burns are at risk of developing hypothermia due to the loss of the skin’s thermoregulatory mechanisms.

These groups are at additional risk of developing hypothermia: 

  1. Large surface area burns: loss of skin’s thermoregulatory mechanism 
  2. Children: due to their large body surface area relative to body size. 
  3. Intubated: unable to shiver following the administration of paralysing agents 
  4. Elderly: the body’s ability to regulate temperature and to sense cold may lessen with age 

How to minimise heat loss and maintain normothermia

  1. Cover the burn as soon as possible 
  2. Stop cooling if core temperature <35C 
  3. Cover the patient with warm blankets, space blankets or forced air warming blanket eg. Bair Hugger 
  4. Use warm IV fluids 
  5. Keep the room/ambulance vehicle warm 
  6. Check temperature regularly 
  7. Remove any wet dressings, sheets etc that can accelerate evaporative heat loss 

Other factors: Tetanus & immunisation

Next page