Use of Essential Oils Following Traumatic Burn Injury: A Case Study

Published:January 14, 2017DOI:


      • This study presents treatment and health outcomes of two children with similar histories of extensive burns.
      • In many health care settings, including post surgery, patients and families are supplementing care with essential oils.
      • Case B’s maternal grandmother supplemented her granddaughter’s care with essential oils.
      • Essential oils may inhibit microbial growth, support wound treatment and facilitate healing however, more research is needed.


      Hospital admissions related to burn injury reach 40,000 annually. Patients who experience extensive burns require longer hospital stays and are at increased risk for infection and hospital acquired conditions. This comparative case study is a two patient matched case control design that follows the hospital course of two children who experienced burn injuries. For one of these patients, with the consent of the child's parents, the grandmother treated her granddaughter with essential oils. Essential oils have the potential to inhibit microbial growth, support treatment of wounds, and facilitate healing. However, there have been no large scale studies on essential oils. Data for the two cases were retrieved from the electronic medical record at a Midwestern Pediatric Hospital. Retrieved data included burn site description, treatment for burns, number of days on the ventilator, white blood cell count, length of hospital stay, number of ICU days, infections diagnosed by positive culture and pain ratings. While the goals for treatment were the same for both children, the child who received only standard care was diagnosed with two blood stream infections and four hospital acquired conditions while the child who received supplemental treatment with essential oils did not develop any blood stream infections, was diagnosed with one hospital acquired condition, was in the PICU one day less, and had a four day shorter length of hospital stay. While these case findings are intriguing, research is needed to expand understanding of the role of essential oils in the treatment of burns.


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      Linked Article

      • Corrigendum to “Use of Essential Oils Following Traumatic Burn Injury: A Case Study” [J. Pediatr. Nurs. 34C (2017) 72–77]
        Journal of Pediatric Nursing: Nursing Care of Children and FamiliesVol. 44
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          After publication of the article “Use of Essential Oils Following Traumatic Burn Injury: A Case Study” (May–June 2017), coauthors Heather Sanders and Kathleen Jopke disclosed to the journal that they are sales representatives of an essential oil company. The editor in chief determined that this disclosure does not alter the conclusion of the case study, which the authors' institutional review board determined to not be human research and which underwent peer review. All authors have approved this corrigendum and apologize for any inconvenience caused.
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