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Lukewarm water, not cold, is best for a burn

McKinley Valentine — 1 min read
Lukewarm water, not cold, is best for a burn
Photo by Gift Habeshaw / Unsplash

Cold water on a burn was just one of those things I was thinking "that feels implausible, I wonder if it's a placebo".

It's not! Cold water really does help carry away the heat so the burn does less damage. But cold water also stops blood flowing to the area, and you need bloodflow to heal (it's a huge part of why a torn meniscus is slow to heal and your tongue very fast). Lukewarm water is only a little slower at carrying the heat away. This doctor reckons 1 minute or less in cold water then switch to lukewarm, to get the best of both worlds (don't click the link if you don't want to read about animal testing).

Ice is terrible for a burn and can do further damage, so people who respond to clapbacks with "would you like some ice for that sick burn?" are really perpetuating unsound medical advice *prim sniff*

This piece was originally published in The Whippet #48 – subscribe to get the next one in your inbox!

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