Burns and ulcers, though they have little in common, are sometimes linked together in manufacturers’ claims for local applications. In burns the rate of healing depends mainly on the initialdepth of the injury, though healing may be hindered locally by trauma or infection. The depth of burn cannot easily be assessed within the first three or four days1 and many different topical treatments have achieved temporary popularity because the initial severity of lesions is easily misjudged. Valid conclusions about healing times can be drawn only from strictly controlled comparative trials. A chronic ulcer may benefit from cleaning with one of many astringents or antibacterial applications, or from surgical debridement, but stable healing depends on correction of the underlying causes of the ulcer where this is possible. The treatment of ulcers deserves detailed discussion in a separate article.
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