Prevent Heat Loss

  1. Home
  2. Severe Burns
  3. Early Management
  4. 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:

Implement measures that minimise heat loss
© Copyright 2024 Terms of Use

  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 paralyzing agents
  4. Elderly: the body’s ability to regulate temperature and to sense cold may lessen with age


Efforts should be made to minimise heat loss and maintain normothermia. This includes:

  1. Cover the burn as soon as possible
  2. Stop cooling if core temperature <35C
  3. Cover the patient with blankets:
    • Warm blankets
    • Space blankets
    • 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

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