Burns – Chemical Burns Treatment
Acid or Chemical Burn Treatment
Personal Protection Equipment
The first thing that we must do is protect ourselves by wearing:
- surgical mask to protect our airway from any acid fumes
- An apron to stop any residual chemical transferal through clothing.
- Remove the chemical by removing the affected clothing
- Remove all jewelry as liquids can be trapped under rings and watches (Do not remove anything that is embedded in the burn)
- If it is a dry chemical brush it off using your gloves or anything else you can find
- Immediately rinse the burn under cool running water for 20 minutes – if this is not available you will have to improvise with any available water source. It is imperative to dilute the corrosive substance and cool down the burn preventing it from worsening
- Do not use a high pressure water source as this can cause more damage to the burn area
- If there is any eye irritation flush with a gentle steam of clean water for 20 minutes
- Put a loose bandage over the burn, you may dampen the bandage with water to help cool the burn. (don’t use any fluffy fabric as this may infiltrate the wound)
- If you have no cloth to cover the burn use plastic cling wrap – it will help maintain fluid and prevent infection
What Chemical Is That?
It is always good to know what chemical is causing the burn as not all chemicals are water soluble.
- Carbolic acid will not mix with water so you may need to use alcohol first and then flush with water.
- Sulphuric acid should be flushed with soap and water solution as water makes Sulphuric acid feel hotter on the skin.
- Hydrofluoric acid is best flushed with a water and baking soda solution and then flushed with water.
DO NOT BE CONCERNED IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THE CHEMICAL IS – FLUSH WITH AS MUSH WATER AS POSSIBLE AND SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION.
When You Absolutely, Positively Have To Get Emergency Help
If the person is showing signs of shock such as:
- Cool, clammy skin
- Pale or ashen skin
- Rapid pulse
- Rapid breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
If The Burn:
- Looks deep
- Looks charred and whitish
- Involves the hands, face or genitals
- Is larger than a 20 cent coin
- Apply any lotions, creams or ointments (these are fine for minor burns)
- Touch the burnt area or try to remove anything stuck in the burn