Acid and chemical burns
Acid and chemical burns, alkaline or acidic burns, can be seriously harmful and require emergency medical attention.
First aid for acid and chemical burns
- Try removing the chemical and any contaminated clothing carefully
- Rinse the affected area using as much clean water as possible
- Keep the substance and any contaminated clothing away from your skin, eyes, and mouth, but take extra care to avoid touching or spreading the substance
- Use gloves or other covering materials to protect your hands, and if you can, carefully cut off garments like shirts rather than yanking them off over your head
- Never wipe the skin because doing so could transmit germs
- Skim the chemical off the skin if it is dry
Continue rinsing with fresh water.
- As soon as possible, regularly rinse the affected region with clean water, ensuring the water can drain out without accumulating on the skin
- Do not scrub or wipe the area; use water
- To prevent further injury, stay on the phone until the ambulance arrives and follow any other instructions the consultant may provide
Chemical burns that require immediate medical attention include:
- To eliminate the corrosive material, keep washing it off with water.
- Cleaning the burn and applying a suitable dressing
- Pain reduction
- If required, a tetanus injection
Recovering from an acid or chemical burn
With appropriate continuous burn care, minor burns that only affect the skin’s outer layer and a small portion of its underlying layer of tissue typically recover with little scarring.
To help avoid infection, you will need to frequently check and change your bandage until the burn has fully healed.
You go under a specialized burns unit and might spend a few days in the hospital.
Surgery may be necessary to remove the burned skin and replace it with a skin graft obtained from a different area of your body.
The healing process for more severe and deeper burns can take months or even years, and they typically leave some visible scars. In some instances, the degree and location of the burn may also cause issues like blindness or limited use of the limbs or muscles.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022