Chemical Burns: First-Aid

A lot of chemicals might seem harmless, but actually some are very hazardous that just coming in contact with your skin can cause burns. In case this happens, do the following:

  • Remove the cause of the burn. Wash the chemicals off the skin surface using cool, running water for 20 minutes or more. If the chemical is powder-like, like lime, brush it off the skin first before washing.
  • Remove clothing or pieces of jewelry that have been contaminated by the chemical.
  • Apply a cool wet cloth to the affected area to relieve the pain.
  • Cover the burned area with dry, clean cloth or sterile dressing.
  • Wash the affected area again for a several minutes more if the person feels increased burning after the initial washing.

Minor chemical burns typically heal without further treatment. However, seek emergency medical assistance if-

  • The victim is has signs of shock such as pale complexion, shallow breathing, or fainting.
  • The chemical burned through the first layer of skin, and the resulting second-degree burn cover an area of more than three inches in diameter.
  • The chemical burns affected the eyes, face, hands, feet, groin, buttocks, or over a major joint.
  • The victim experiences pain that cannot be relieved by over-the-counter painkillers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

If you are not sure whether the chemical is toxic, call the poison control center at 800-222-1222. Take the chemical bottle or container with you to the hospital for identification.

Source: MayoClinic