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What is burnaid and how does it work?

Supplier: First Responder Group
02 February, 2012

The Burnaid range consists of sterile gel impregnated burn dressings and sachets and tubes of gel, for the immediate first aid treatment of burns.

Burnaid rapidly cools the burn helping to prevent further tissue damage and aid the healing process, and offers the patient rapid and ongoing pain relief.

Burnaid Gel consists of in excess of 90% water trapped in a proprietary gel, containing a small percentage of Melaleuca Oil – a naturally occurring substance, steam distilled from the leaves of the Australian Melaleuca alternifolia tree. Melaleuca Oil is a proven antiseptic, which exhibits local anaesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties. The Burnaid Dressing consists of a 3mm thick pad of open cell foam impregnated with the Burnaid gel. When placed on a burn, a 3mm layer of gel is held on the skin.

From the patient’s perspective, they are afforded almost immediate pain relief from the cooling gel and the anaesthetic properties of the Melaleuca Oil. The cooling properties of the dressing helps to halt the burn progression and minimise further tissue damage. Furthermore being in excess of 90% water, the Dressing re-hydrates the burn Burnaid Dressings are sterile and exhibit mild biocidal properties – helping to prevent secondary infection.

From a management perspective, Burnaid Dressings provide an effective and simple way of relieving pain and treating burns. The dressing is placed on the burn and stays in-situ for up to two hours. There is no requirement to keep irrigating the burn, nor is there any ‘run-off’.

Furthermore the need to administer narcotics for pain relief can be greatly reduced. The Dressing doesn’t disguise the extent of the burn. When the burn needs to be further examined, the non-adherent dressing simply lifts off and any residual gel rinsed off.

The Burnaid Dressing allows for easy transport to medical attention, as the gel stays ‘in-situ’ on the skin far better than chilled-water irrigated dressings. Furthermore as the first response treatment in accident and emergency wards or ER’s, the Dressing need only be applied once - saving nursing resources and time. The Dressing has many other practical benefits - especially where clean cold water is not readily available.

Burnaid is used throughout industry, in medical centres, by Australian ambulance, and in hospital emergency departments from as far a field as the North Sea Oil rescue services to hospitals in Australia, Singapore and the USA.


Recent clinical studies published in Burns, conducted using Melaleuca alternifolia Hydrogel dressings, compared their performance against tap water as a coolant, for fresh deep partial thickness hot water burns in a porcine model. Clinical and histological assessment at 21 days indicated more rapid healing in both the Melaleuca Hydrogel Dressing and the water-cooled burns compared to the untreated controls.

Effective cooling of the burn wound and an increased rate of wound healing was achieved by both repeated tap water compresses and by immediate or delayed application of Melaleuca Hydrogel Dressings. The study concluded that cooling using a Melaleuca Hydrogel Dressings is an effective means to reduce tissue damage and increase wound healing.[i]

Heat dissipation testing conducted on Burnaid 10x10cm dressings at Macquarie University Sydney, demonstrated their ability to act as a ‘heat sink’. A block of material simulating tissue was heated. At this point a 10x10cm dressing was placed over the heated material. The temperature immediately began to drop, and continued to cool the mass more effectively than the control.[ii]

Furthermore in-vitro trials conducted of Melaleuca Oil showed that the inflammatory activity of monocytes was regulated by the water-soluble components of Melaleuca Oil. Melaleuca Oil suppresses monocyte production of inflammatory mediators and superoxide and thereby may prevent tissue damage.[iii] Cooling can also help preserve mast cells and help decrease inflammation These two actions combined may help reduce tissue damage.

[i] Jandera V., Hudson D.A., de Wet P.M., Innes P.M., Rode H., Cooling the burn wound: evaluation of different modalities, Burns 26 (2000) 265-270

[ii] Guy I. Report on the cooling properties of Burnaid Dressings. Macquarie University. January 2003.

[iii] Finlay-Jones J., Hart P., Riley T., Carson C., Anti-inflammatory activity of Tea Tree Oil, RIRDC Publication No 01/10, February 2001

Source: First Responder Group