IN 1954 we corroborated in the laboratory1 some advice that grandmothers had been providing their offspring for many generations—the benefits of the application of immediate cold water compresses as a treatment for small burns. Studies at that time suggested that immediate topical cooling of burned surfaces materially inhibited the expected increase in permeability of the capillaries in the burned area and retarded edema formation. Since that time several clinical reports have suggested that surface cooling exerts a favorable influence on the pathophysiology of the ordinary clinical burn.
That much of the tissue damage following acute thermal injury occurs subsequent to the primary insult and is caused by factors other than temperature alteration per se seems well established.2,3 The following study was undertaken as a preliminary investigation designed to further clarify the role of surface cooling in modifying the pathophysiology of the more extensive burn.
King TC, Price PB. Surface Cooling Following Extensive Burns. JAMA. 1963;183(8):677-678. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.63700080022017g