Hesperian Health Guides

Chemical Burns

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Protect yourself first: Wear long sleeves and gloves or bags over your hands. Cover your mouth with a handkerchief. Wash yourself and your clothing thoroughly after helping anyone who has been exposed to chemicals.

The best way to prevent damage from chemical burns is to get the chemical off as fast as possible.

  1. Take off clothing and jewelry near the burn.
  2. If the chemical is sticky, quickly scrape it off with a flat stick, the side of a knife, or something else stiff.
  3. Once you have scraped off all the chemical you can, rinse the area with lots and lots of water. Water can cause some chemicals to start burning, so be sure you have first removed as much of the chemical as possible. For an oily chemical, use soap and water. Use a hose or tap if you have one. If the face is affected, wash it first. Especially clean out any cuts or openings in the skin. The faster you start washing and the longer you wash, the better the skin can survive.

After you have cleaned all the chemical off the person, treat the chemical burn as you would any other burn.

Wash or discard all clothes that have come into contact with the chemicals, as they can also cause damage.

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If the chemical got into an eye, pour the water from the inside of the eye (near the nose) toward the outside of the eye (near the ear).

This page was updated:05 Feb 2020