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David Emery

Flour as a Burn Remedy?

By April 6, 2011

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For those who like getting their medical advice from forwarded emails, here's the latest home remedy rocketing from inbox to inbox:

Once I was cooking some corn and stuck my fork in the boiling water to see if the corn was ready. I missed and my hand went into the boiling water....

A friend of mine, who was a Vietnam vet, came into the house, just as I was screaming, and asked me if I had some plain old flour...I pulled out a bag and he stuck my hand in it. He said to keep my hand in the flour for 10 minutes which I did. He said that in Vietnam, this guy was on fire and in their panic, they threw a bag of flour all over him to put the fire out...well, it not only put the flour out, but he never even had a blister!!!!

Turns out this was a common remedy 150 or so years ago, and some folks, even doctors, regarded it as something of a miracle cure. Now, not so much. Read more...


May 27, 2011 at 2:18 pm
(1) Laura S. says:

I do not know the ‘scientific or medical’ reasoning, but I have used flour on minor burns and it works. I would never throw it on a burning person or use it for a ‘sunburn’.
I have used it for ‘minor’ oil burns in the kitchen. Just recently, not paying attention, I picked up my curling iron from the rod and not the handle. I know burns from the curling iron all to well and they almost always blister. In lack of knowing what else to do, I tried the flour. My hand didn’t ever turn red…no pain and no blisters. I have always in the past used the cold water treatment for those types of ‘dry’ burns, and it works until you take your burn out of the water. The pain does not subside and I have never had that treatment keep a burn from blistering.
I must stress, flour is not a treatment for severe burns (especially from fire), for ‘after the fact’ burns, for burns that have broken the surface of the skin, or sunburns.
Personally, this will be the treatment of choice in my house for minor burns, and that comes from trying both methods.

July 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm
(2) Michelle says:

A 5 yr old boy touched hot sauna rocks while at my parent’s. My mom immediately came with her canister of flour and stuck the boy’s hand in it. I questioned this treatment – and later read flour for burns is merely an old wives’ tale. Though unable to access the degree of the burn, I spoke with the boy’s mother later that night who stated he was doing really well, just a bit of pink on the fingertips, and no blisters.

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