Alkaline products include lime products, plaster and mortar, oven and drain cleaners, dishwasher powders, fertilizers, and sparks from "sparklers." They can cause serious damage in a very short time, depending on the type, strength, and the length of time the alkali is in contact with the body. Alkaline chemicals are able to penetrate and damage the deeper layers of tissue.
When a chemical burn occurs, find out what chemical caused the burn. Call a Poison Control Center immediately for more information about how to treat the burn. When you call the Poison Control Center, have the chemical container with you, so you can read the contents label to the Poison Control staff member.
Most chemical burns are treated first by rinsing (flushing) the chemical off your body with a large amount of cool water, but not all chemicals are treated this way. It is important to treat the burn correctly to avoid further complications.
Chemical burns rinsed with water
Chemical burns not rinsed with water
Some alkali burns are made worse if rinsed (flushed) with water.
The most important first aid for a chemical in the eye is to immediately flush the substance out with large amounts of water to reduce the chance of serious eye damage. For any chemical burn to the eye, see the topic Burns to the Eye.
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