Causes, symptoms, first aid in chemical burns

Tissue damage chemicals leads to chemical burns. Most often, they happen at work or at home in case of violation of safety rules when working with acids and concentrated alkalis.

Getting on the skin or inside the body, these substances entail the overheating of tissues and the appearance of a jelly-like or hard skin.

The process is accompanied by severe pain syndrome and requires immediate medical care.

Causes chemical burns

In addition to emergency situations, when the burns occur because of inept handling of aggressive solutions, there are also other reasons:

  • Oversight is the cause of chemical burns in children. In this case the kids spill drink on yourself or household chemicals found in the home.
  • Wrong choice of indoor plants – when purchased potentially dangerous representatives of nature, which secretes a juice that can leave on the body chemical burns.
  • Suicide is when someone intentionally takes an inside illegal drugs.

Depending on the origin and concentration of aggressive substances, as well as time their effects on the body or on internal organs occur chemical burns of different degrees.

Chemical burn of the skin

This is the most common diagnosis, which put patients in contact with acids or alkalis. Nature of the substances a doctor can determine by examining the damage that they caused.

So, alkali, due to its deep penetration into tissues, affect the skin area, which they were, and neighboring areas. At the same time around the perimeter of the wound appears wet gelatinous cork it after a couple of days dries and hardens.

Exceptions and long-term preservation of jelly-like peel are only cases, when there is re-infection.

In turn, acid leave behind a dry crust, it is due to the fact that the acid acts on the protein as a coagulant, and alkali – like solvent. Cork is a kind of protection that prevents the penetration of aggressive substances inside the tissues. That is why acid burns are less dangerous than alkaline.

It is also possible to burn your skin with salt of heavy metals, it can detect the characteristic white burns cork, she later becomes brown or brown-black. In any case, the damaged area hurts, the skin on it sinks.

The degree and symptoms of chemical burns of the skin

Depending on the depth of the lesion, doctors have identified chemical burns:

  • I degree is characterized by redness, swelling at the site of contact with substances on the skin. The person may be feeling pain, minor pain, less delamination of the surface layer. The swelling subsides after a couple of days, and the crust is maintained for 7 to 14 days, and then gives way to regenerated skin. To indicate damage in the future unless expressed pigmentation.
  • II degree – it is diagnosed if got on the skin substance completely damages the epidermis, sometimes capturing the deeper layers of the skin – the dermis. Swelling there is, between the bubbles, as in the case of thermal burns, do not appear. When hit acids on the affected area forms a thin film which is a dead skin cells, and the scab – the crust of coagulated blood. The latter disappears within 7 – 10 days, leaving behind bright pink skin area, it does not change its color for a long time. When the damage to alkali, it is rejected more layer of skin, exposing its inner layers down to the subcutaneous fat. Occurred immediately wet the crust after a few days drying, but the situation is aggravated by frequent purulent formations in the affected area. After healing usually leaves scars.
  • III and IV degree – deep burns appear under the influence of alkalis. With 3rd degree chemical burns corrosive just hurts all skin layers, and when the fourth goes also on internal organs and tissues. The process of falling off of the crust is stretched for weeks, or even months, leaving a festering, slow-healing wounds. After recovery, the affected areas are the sores, keloid scars.
First aid for chemical burns of the skin

First of all, it is necessary to prevent further human contact with aggressive substances. To do this, it is removed from the clothing, which could get acid or alkali, taking it away from objects under the action of aggressive substances. The next stage is cleansing the wound. The affected area is left exposed to the cold (about 12 degrees) running water for 20 – 25 minutes, no less. It also enables cooling adjacent skin areas, preventing their damage.

If you know the origin trapped on the skin chemicals, you can use the antidotes binders aggressive compounds. Exceptions may be only the juice of poisonous plants.

As an antidote may be:

  • 1 – 2% acetic acid or diluted lemon juice, if there was a burn alkalis;
  • A 2% solution of sodium bicarbonate (this baking soda), to the effects of acids.

On the washed skin area applied is clean, dry bandage until the arrival of ambulance crews. No drugs without a doctor’s prescription is not recommended. Expect further guidance to staff is also necessary if visible lesions of the deep layers (burns III and IV degree), be sure to appeal to doctors, if after a few days with minor lesions appear inflammation.

Chemical eye burns

Lesions of the organs of vision are diagnosed in the 9 – 12% of cases, when we are talking about chemicals. Such patients require immediate medical attention, otherwise it is possible to decrease their visual acuity up until her loss. That is why the treatment of eye burns are often carried out in hospital.

Symptoms of chemical eye burns

In contact with acids and alkalis in the eyes of the person observed:

  • severe pain;
  • burning;
  • increased lacrimation;
  • swelling of the eyelids;
  • conjunctival hyperemia.

Patients that eye they have a foreign object. They have photophobia, vision decreases, in some cases, it is difficult for them to open their eyes.

If long-term exposure to aggressive substances is diagnosed clouding of the cornea.

First aid for burns of the eyes chemical substances

To stop the irreversible processes is possible, well washing the eye with running water. Subject to the availability of saline, you should use them. After that you should immediately consult an ophthalmologist to prevent the risk of vision loss.

The use of antidotes in case of chemical eye burns forbidden!

Chemical burns of internal organs

In 70% of cases are diagnosed in babies who drink household chemicals. The remaining 30% of adults with chemical burns of the oropharynx, esophagus and internal organs, which in the conditions of intoxication, loss of vision in the elderly or if you want to commit suicide taking poison solutions.

It is worth noting that, along with acids and alkalis, serious tissue damage can cause: alcohol, substitute of alcohol, contents of batteries.

Symptoms of chemical burns of internal organs

To identify the fact of release of chemicals inside is not difficult, as in this case:

  • on mucous membranes will be swollen, the strength of which depends on the concentration and duration of exposure of the solution on the fabric;
  • in the esophagus, stomach, behind the breastbone in the upper abdomen there is severe pain;
  • the process of swallowing becomes impossible due to edema;
  • due to the effects of corrosive substances on the vocal cords, the voice becomes hoarse;
  • breathing quickens and becomes difficult due to swelling of the larynx;
  • develops vomiting blood.

Ingestion of large amount of acids and alkalis to exhibit symptoms of General toxicity – malaise, drowsiness, loss of consciousness.

In the absence of timely care may develop peritonitis, perforation of internal organs.

First aid for chemical burn of internal organs

It is important

An adult or child who has a suspected chemical burn of internal organs, you should immediately call an ambulance. Before the arrival of specialists people in the minds of the washed stomach, give 1 liter of lukewarm water and induce vomiting. Hot water for washing the stomach is not suitable!

Perhaps the use of the antidote, but only in the case when the nature of the aggressive substances are accurately known:

  • ingestion of acid, the stomach was washed with 2% solution of baking soda (for its preparation, 2 g of product are dissolved in 1 liter of warm boiled water);
  • ingestion of alkalis victim are 1 – 2% solution of acetic acid.

As an antidote also suitable for warm milk (2 tbsp.), especially if it’s not possible to determine what was consumed the victims.


In the case of chemical burns of great importance is the timely medical assistance, especially washing of the affected areas. To aggravate the situation, the General condition of the organism, the presence of concomitant injury and disease. Depending on the extent of damage to the patients will recommend not only physical rehabilitation, which consists of drug therapy, physiotherapy, medical gymnastics (when the area burns impressive), but also psychological help. In rare cases, surgery is recommended.


In most cases, chemical burns can be avoided, it is important to observe the rules:

  1. If you want to work with aggressive substances, use protective clothing, glasses.
  2. Train staff in safety.
  3. Be sure to use bright, visible markings to denote caustic drugs not only in production, but also at home.
  4. All household chemicals, pesticides, and batteries, solvents, glues and even a liquid for removing varnish keep out of the reach of children.
  5. Working with household cleaning products and solutions only in gloves, after analyzing the instructions on the package.
  6. Do not pour harmful products in bottles and jars from cosmetics, drugs, or worse – food.
  7. Do not put house plants whose properties have not been studied.

Chemical burns to leave behind, at best, severe pain and an unpleasant experience; at worst, dire consequences in the form of non-healing wounds, loss of vision, serious lesions of internal organs. So if you suspect a chemical burn, you should immediately see a specialist – surgeon (when damaged skin), ophthalmologist (damage to the eye), the gastroenterologist, the toxicologist (if damaged internal organs).

5 thoughts on “Causes, symptoms, first aid in chemical burns

  1. As an antidote also suitable for warm milk (2 tbsp.), especially if it’s not possible to determine what was consumed the victims.

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