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Severe burn injuries are one of the most common types of trauma. When these kinds of serious burns occur, there is a great risk of infection. And infections can cause complications like sepsis, a potentially life-threatening whole-body inflammatory response. So what can patients with severe burn injury do to prevent these dangerous complications?
It turns out that probiotics may be one of the best treatment for burns because they can improve an imbalance of bacteria in your gut.
Burns cause alterations in the gut microbiome
You might think that a burn simply affects your skin and the underlying tissues, but a burn injury can causes changes throughout the entire body. New research suggests that one of those changes occurs in the population of bacteria living in your digestive tract.
This population, often referred to as the gut microbiome, is essential for maintaining good health.We have both beneficial bacteria (called probiotics) and harmful bacteria (like E. coli and Salmonella) in our bodies. Most of the time, the good bacteria keep the bad in check, and a healthy balance is maintained. But some events and conditions, such as a burn injury, can cause problems for the microbiome.
A recent study looked at fecal samples from four severely burned patients five to 17 days after the injury, along with fecal samples from healthy controls. They found that there were significant differences in the composition and diversity of bacteria between these two groups. In particular, they found the family of Enterobacteriaceae (which includes pathogenic bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella) was significantly higher in burn patients (31.9% in burn patients compared to 0.5% in controls). These bacteria are pro-inflammatory and are often pathogenic. Burn patients also showed decreased abundance of potentially protective families of bacteria.
The researchers performed further tests on mice and found similar results; burn injuries led to significantly altered gut microbiome compositions. They also found burn injuries to increase intestinal permeability, which can lead to the harmful bacteria traveling to other parts of the body.
Consider a probiotic after a burn injury
The study found evidence that burn injuries significantly alter the gut microbiome, and that these changes may be the source of bacterial infections that occur after a burn. As these infections can lead to deadly complications, helping the gut to heal after a burn may be as important as helping the skin to heal. Although the effects of doing so have not yet been studied in humans, the researchers suggests that probiotic treatment may be a very important step to take after a burn.
If you or someone you know has suffered from a serious burn, consider taking probiotics as soon as possible to help protect the gut, and the body, from a harmful imbalance in bacteria. You can also boost healthy bacteria by eating fermented foods or by eating more prebiotics (read about the difference between prebiotics and probiotics here).
If you get a small, minor burn around the house, make sure to care for it properly. These home remedies for burns can help you heal faster, prevent infection, and stop itching.
Share your experience
Have you ever had a severe burn? Do you have any tips for healing and preventing infection naturally? Share your experience in the comments section below.