Hot water burns are a common childhood injury. Earlier this week 5-year-old Sreymao* was playing around in her house when she ran into her mother who was carrying a pot of scalding hot water. The water spilled and the little girl suffered burns to her shoulder. Immediately after the accident happened, Sreymao’s mother applied toothpaste to the burned area. It is a common belief in Cambodia that toothpaste is the best first-aid treatment for burns.
When Sreymao was brought to our Medical Clinic today, MT’s Dr. Dora assessed, cleaned, and treated her injury as well as giving appropriate medications to be used at home. It was also opportunity for our medical team to provide Sremao’s family with some health education and first-aid advice; that if something like this happens again, the best first-aid treatment for burns is not toothpaste (although it may feel cooling at first), but instead to use cold water on acute burns. Hopefully Sreymao’s family will remember this advice and also share it with their neighbors and friends.
*name changed for confidentiality
Learn more about first-aid for burns: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/burns-and-scalds/treatment/