If you think of ways to get burned, chances are things like fire, hot water, or cooking appliances are often the first things to come to mind. And while these burn are some of the most common that people suffer from, they are not the only cause. There are other burns that can be just as painful and even more harmful, but also require a different treatment. Chemical burns are another type of burn that can be quite serious.
There are different ways that you can receive a chemical burn. While many people are under the impression that they only occur in an industry setting, you can also receive chemical burns from your everyday household chemicals. Used properly, these chemicals are often used to clean the various surfaces in our homes, but used improperly they can cause serious damage.
Chemical burns are caused by chemicals that are strongly acidic or alkaline. Around the house, you might find such chemicals in the cleaners that you use to clean your toilets, do your laundry, and unplug your drains. Improper handling of these products can lead to dangerous chemical burns.
While they are called a burn, a chemical burn and a burn caused by heat are very different. Heat burns are all very similar, only differing in severity. Chemical burns, due to being caused by a variety of chemicals, can have different symptoms and need different remedies. Here are some things that apply to all chemical burns.
Location – certain areas are considered more serious than others. This includes chemical burns that occur on the buttocks, face, and groin.
The severity – some chemical burns can injure more than one layer of skin. This causes these chemical burns to be more susceptible to infection and other problems.
Time – how long a victim has been exposed to a chemical will often make the difference in how severe a chemical burn becomes. Quick treatment is often necessary in order to prevent a chemical burn from becoming worse.
If you receive a chemical burn, the best course of action is to call a doctor and/or the poison control center. Due to their nature, some chemical burns can have serious damage under the skin but no outward signs. And unless you have had training in how to treat chemical burns, there is the possibility that you could make a chemical burn worse. However, there are some steps that you can take to keep a chemical burn from getting worse.
Get a safe distance away. If the victim can be moved, getting away from the accident site will help prevent a recurrence of the exposure that caused the burn in the first place.
Remove clothing. Clothing can become saturated with the chemical causing the burn, causing prolonged exposure to the skin. Removing any clothing will help prevent the chemical burn from getting worse.
Remove the chemical. Under the guidance of the 911 operator or poison control officer, remove as much of the chemical as possible, using care not to cause further burning.