Customers who are using emollient therapy should be aware of the potential risk of serious burns, according to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Emollient products are not flammable in, or of, themselves. However, they act as an accelerant, increasing the speed of ignition and intensity of the fire when fabric with dried-on residue is ignited.
Fabrics that have come into contact with an emollient, such as clothing, bedding and dressings, can be highly flammable, even after washing. This warning includes both paraffin-based and paraffin-free emollient products.
The MHRA therefore says patients should be advised:
It may not be the customer who needs the treatment. If the customer is a representative, it is important that they are able to fully explain to the patient how the product should be used. Always refer them to the patient information leaflet (PIL) or directions on the packaging.
Refer the customer to the pharmacist if there are symptoms of an infection.
This will help you find out the cause of the condition.
This will help you establish if the customer has already tried a product that hasn’t helped or wasn’t appropriate.
It is important to refer any customer who is taking any other medication to the pharmacist.
You don’t have to ask these questions in order, and a customer might give you some of this information without you asking. As long as you get them into the conversation, you should be able to find out the information you need in order to make a recommendation. The golden rule to remember is: if in doubt, refer to the pharmacist. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for their advice as they have a lot of information about products and symptoms to hand that you may not be aware of.
Brush up on your knowledge of dry skin and eczema with our two-minute learning video.