For four or five years the use of picric acid in the treatment of burns has been strongly advocated. Blisters are opened, the dead skin and sloughs are cut away, the wound is thoroughly cleansed, and gauze, soaked in a one percent solution of the acid, is applied to the burnt surface and covered with paraffin paper, and this by a cotton pad, and bandaged lightly. The dressing may be changed once, or in extreme cases twice a day.
This application often produces pain for a few minutes. The pain disappears under the slow anesthetic influence of the remedy, and comfort follows. As the agent stains the skin, rubber gloves are usually used in its application. After the third day it will not be necessary to dress the wound so often. Once in two or three days will be sufficient.
Where this treatment is used, it has been observed that the urine is dark red, and sometimes coffee colored, but usually no albumin is found, and the discoloration is not important. The condition of the bowels, temperature, and the nervous system induced by the shock from the burn, or from absorption of excretory products must be treated with the indicated remedy.
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.