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Application of Cold to Burns

W. F. Gemmill, M.D.
JAMA. 1961;175(12):1110. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040120072021.
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To the Editor:—  Recently, several articles appeared in the literature on the application of cold for the treatment of burns, at one time considered prohibited. Like many other methods of medical treatment, reevaluation often shows surprisingly enough that many discarded treatments are not without merit.The writer's unforgettable experience is significant. At the age of 4 years, 70 years ago, he ran with bare feet through the white ashes of a brush fire with live coals underneath, sustaining extensive second degree burns of both feet (blisters). Psychologically the desire was for application of something cold to relieve the intense burning. The pain was excruciating and was relieved immediately and completely by the immersion of the feet in a large receptacle of cold water. When the feet were removed from the water, the pain again became unbearable; likewise, when the water became warmer, the pain increased proportionally and was repeatedly relieved


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