Acid burns

First aid for an acid burn

What should you do if you see someone who has been subjected to an acid attack?

  1. Protect Yourself. Make sure it is safe for you to help. Put on gloves or apron, if possible & avoid exposing yourself to chemicals.
  2. Rinse and Clear Burn Area by flooding the burn area with cool water for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Make sure water doesn’t flow onto another part of the person’s body or onto you as this will simply transfer the acid onto other parts of the body or onto you and cause further damage. The key is to try and get the part of the body that you are irrigating with water as close to the ground and drainage as possible. (NB There are a few chemical toxins that should NOT be irrigated immediately with water including dry lime, phenols, and elemental metals (eg, sodium, potassium, calcium oxide, magnesium, phosphorous))
  4. Seek medical help

Authored by: Dr Tim Ubhi BSc(Hons) MB ChB MRCP FRCPCH

Published: 8th March 2019

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