Burns Information

Written by Dr. Colin Michie MA FRCPCH FLS in 2004

Burns and scalds often damage normal skin defences, allowing bacteria to grow and synthesise toxins. For many years it has been known that children in particular following burns are prone to develop confusion, fever, low blood pressure, diarrhoea and a rash - in other words, toxic shock syndrome. This condition may be seen following very small areas of skin damage; it may be fatal with a similar mortality rate to menstrual TSS. This paediatric problem has become more evident. The early use of antibiotics by mouth may prevent the development of TSS following a burn, but at present it is difficult to identify those most at risk. Various dressings and topical treatments have little effect on the incidence of the illness. Any sick child with a burn or scald must have a blood pressure measurement in order to exclude TSS.