If you get a minor burn somewhere on the outside of your body, you can usually help dull the pain and promote healing by applying a piece of gauze and an ointment such as Polysporin. When you scald your tongue on a hot food or drink, however, you can’t exactly put a Band-Aid on it. That said, you may soon be able to apply a soothing medicated strip, instead.
The dissolvable oral strips have been developed by a team of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, led by Dr. Jason McConville.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
The strips can be applied to a burned area on the tongue, the inside of the cheek, or the roof of the mouth. Once applied, they will reportedly stay in place and not interfere with normal activities such as talking and eating.
As they dissolve, they release a controlled dose of the local anesthetic benzocaine, which is already found in products such as throat lozenges. Additionally, they are made from what is referred to as a non-toxic “therapeutic polymer,” that helps the injured tissue to heal.
Similar in appearance to existing breath-freshening strips, the medicated strips are currently aimed at use on minor burns caused by the ingestion of hot substances. A stronger strip is in the works, however, that could be applied to more severe burns.
Human trials are planned to take place next, as are experiments in masking the taste of the strips.