Use of Essential Oils Following Traumatic Burn Injury: A Case Study

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Hospital admissions related to burn injury reach 40,000 annually. Patients who experience extensive burns require longer hospital stays and are at increased risk for infection and hospital acquired conditions. This comparative case study is a two patient matched case control design that follows the hospital course of two children who experienced burn injuries. For one of these patients, with the consent of the child's parents, the grandmother treated her granddaughter with essential oils. Essential oils have the potential to inhibit microbial growth, support treatment of wounds, and facilitate healing. However, there have been no large scale studies on essential oils. Data for the two cases were retrieved from the electronic medical record at a Midwestern Pediatric Hospital. Retrieved data included burn site description, treatment for burns, number of days on the ventilator, white blood cell count, length of hospital stay, number of ICU days, infections diagnosed by positive culture and pain ratings. While the goals for treatment were the same for both children, the child who received only standard care was diagnosed with two blood stream infections and four hospital acquired conditions while the child who received supplemental treatment with essential oils did not develop any blood stream infections, was diagnosed with one hospital acquired condition, was in the PICU one day less, and had a four day shorter length of hospital stay. While these case findings are intriguing, research is needed to expand understanding of the role of essential oils in the treatment of burns.

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