Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Beer Can Be Good For Burns

By Magdeline Lum

A case study documents the use of beer as a rehydration fluid for a burns patient.

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A case report in Emergency Medicine Australasia last year has described how a 65-year-old-man with 40% burns recovered after a self-prescribed rehydration regime. As Dr Dexter Chan of the University of Melbourne reported with colleagues in Hong Kong:

“We present the case of an unusual fluid resuscitation regime in a 65-year-old man with 40% burns. He fell into a garden fire, but believing the hospital to be closed, waited at home drinking six cans (2L) of ‘San Miguel’ beer, with no other fluid intake, before attending the ED the next morning, 17h after injury.”

The extent of the man’s burns included his upper limbs, torso and face. It is accepted practice that any patient with burns to more than 20% of the body requires fluid resuscitation, though usually not with beer. Incorrect rates of fluid resuscitation can lead to complications and even death.

The man’s presentation at the hospital and his recovery was noted:

“Initial laboratory tests showed evidence of mild dehydration, which fully resolved within 24h; and subsequent recovery was unremarkable.”

Before beer-lovers can celebrate over another cold one, the authors state: “But no one recommends resuscitation with beer.”

All is not lost, though. Previous studies have suggested the use of alcohol as part of a fluid resuscitation regime, as the authors note:

“However,...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.