Chemical and Acid Burns
Jul 25, · In general, the common symptoms associated with chemical burns include: blackened or dead skin, which is mainly seen in chemical burns from acid irritation, redness, or burning in the affected area Author: Elly Dock. Chemical burns are classified like other burns based on the amount of damage done: Superficial or first-degree burnsonly affect the outer layer of skin, called the epidermis. The area will be red.
Chemical burns can be caused by many substances, chemicql as strong acids, drain cleaners lyepaint thinner and gasoline. Usually, you are aware of the burn and its cause.
But sometimes you may not immediately recognize a burn caused by a milder chemical. As with some sunburns, the pain and redness vhemical develop hours after the exposure. If you're unsure whether a substance is toxic, call Poison Help at in the United States. If you seek emergency medical help, take the chemical container or the name of the chemical with you to the emergency department. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission.
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Sign up now. Show references What do chemical burns look like to do in a medical emergency. American College of Emergency Physicians. Accessed Nov. Kermott CA, et al. Emergencies and urgent care. Rochester, Minn. Merck Manual Professional Version. Walls RM, et al. Chemical injuries. Philadelphia, Pa. Mayo Clinic Marketplace Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic.
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Oct 01, · Usually a chemical burn will be relatively small and will require only outpatient treatment. Chemical burns can be deceiving, however. Some agents can cause deep tissue damage that is not readily apparent when people first look at it. Tissue damage from chemical burns depends on several factors. The strength or concentration of the agent. Feb 08, · Chemical burns can be caused by many substances, such as strong acids, drain cleaners (lye), paint thinner and gasoline. Usually, you are aware of the burn and its cause. But sometimes you may not immediately recognize a burn caused by a milder chemical. As with some sunburns, the pain and redness may develop hours after the exposure. Jun 25, · Chemical burns tend to be deep burns, and symptoms of a chemical burn will vary depending on a variety of factors. Symptoms of chemical burn depend on: when the skin was in contact with the chemicalAuthor: Lana Barhum.
Treatment of a chemical burn is dependent on removing the chemical causing the burn, and then cleaning the area to promote healthy healing. While minor chemical burns can be treated at home, they sometimes require the attention of a doctor. If the burns cover a large area of the body or are extremely deep, the patient should be taken to see a physician as soon as possible. Likewise, if a patient appears dizzy, sick, disoriented, weak, or faint after a burn, this can indicate the burn has caused a more systemic injury which requires treatment.
Chemical burns happen when the body is exposed to caustic or acidic chemicals. These chemicals can range from ordinary household chemicals which contact the skin for prolonged periods to highly dangerous chemicals used in industrial manufacturing.
In all cases, the first step in treating a chemical burn is flushing the area thoroughly with cold water to get the chemical off.
If the chemical is dry, it should be brushed off before rinsing. Whether wet or dry, it is a good idea for the patient to remove his or her clothing and jewelry, in case it has become contaminated. Washing the burn can be painful, but it flushes the chemical out of the burn, so it will stop burning the patient. Ideally, the wound should be flushed for 15 to 20 minutes, and if the patient becomes uncomfortable, he or she should be reminded that chemical burns can extend deep into the body if the chemical is not fully removed.
After rinsing, the burn should be allowed to dry, and then covered with a dry, sterile dressing. The dressing should be changed regularly, and the wound should be rinsed with mild antibacterial soap and allowed to air dry after each dressing change. Blisters, scabs, and peeling skin should not be picked at, as this can inhibit healing.
The use of creams and ointments is also discouraged, as this can inhibit air circulation at the site of the burn. Many chemical burns heal just fine with self-care.
However, if a wound becomes infected or appears to be healing very slowly, it's a good idea to consult a doctor.
Deep burns also require medical treatment, and may even require surgery in some cases to remove dead and dying tissue affected by the burn. If you are injured with chemicals in the workplace, the injury should be reported, and you may be asked to see a doctor to confirm that the burn is healing properly.
It is also possible to neutralize a chemical burn to stop the burning, but people should be careful when doing this. While it is theoretically possible to neutralize acids with bases and vice-versa, an unexpected reaction can occur and cause more harm. People who want to neutralize these burns would be well-advised to call a burn center for more information.
Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.
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