Facts Check egg white should not be used to treat burns due to risk of infection

Experts contacted by Reuters agree that the application of egg white to burns can cause serious infection and is not recommended as a treatment, contrary to the advice in old posts that reappear on the internet.

The posts (here, here) are shared more than 400,000 times and describe two anecdotes of how egg whites were allegedly used to successfully heal burns, and recommend that people add egg whites to burns to form a protective layer, which if a “collagen” or glue acts. is full of vitamins. Some posts are originally from as far back as 2013, but are shared in April 2021, for example here, here and here with captions, including ‘Good to know!’ and “Worth repeating.”

“There is no scientific evidence to support this treatment, and the use of egg whites can be very dangerous,” said Dr. Alejandro Garcia (here), director of the pediatric combustion program at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and assistant professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. , told Reuters by email. He explained: “Raw eggs can contain salmonella, which is a type of bacteria that can cause serious infections. Salmonella or other bacteria applied to an open wound, such as a burn, can lead to a local infection and possibly worse systemic infections that lead to sepsis or even death. ‘

Dr Matthew Sztajnkrycer, emergency physician at the nonprofit Academic Medical Center, agreed with the Mayo Clinic (here) and emailed Reuters: “An important role of the skin is in protecting the body from infection. […] Burns are very prone to infection and salmonella infection can be catastrophic. ”

Sztajnkrycer further explained how a recent medical study in Iran (here) found that patients whose burns were treated with an ointment based on egg white, healed slightly faster, but he says it is “very different from just raw egg white on a fresh burn, as it was a ‘very controlled study’ where many patients were ‘excluded due to risk factors’ and ‘performed by specially trained surgeons at a local burn.’

Dr Laura Johnson, a fire surgeon at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center (here), advised Reuters by email that for the best long-term results, consult a burn specialist before applying anything other than water to a burn. , as there is ‘little data’ on eggs for the treatment of burns, and the data available are “in combination with a topical prescription antimicrobial,” which reduces the risk of infection.

The World Health Organization, the American National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the Mayo Clinic recommend here, here and here that minor burns should be treated with cool water to lower the temperature of the burn and then once cooled, lotions such as aloe vera or over- the over-the-counter antibiotic ointment should be applied, and the area should be loosely covered with a clean bandage. They say more serious burns need urgent treatment by medical professionals.

Reuters had earlier denied false allegations that flour could be used here to heal burns.


Untrue. Several firefighters told Reuters that the application of egg white to burns is not recommended due to the dangerous risk of salmonella infection.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.