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Chemical Burns (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

Once all immediate danger has passed and the person has completed basic first aid (removed from the chemical source, contaminated clothing removed, and, if skin or eyes involved, extensive rinsing with water in most situations), a doctor, if immediately available, should review the injury and the chemical involved to make sure the patient needs no further emergency treatment. If a potential problem remains, the doctor can arrange appropriate treatment or will direct the patient to go to a hospital's Emergency Department.

Any chemical burn can be a legitimate reason to summon emergency medical help if no doctor is immediately available. Always err on the side of safety and call 911 if the severity of the injury is unknown, if the medical stability of the person injured is not clear, or if there are any concerns about a chemical injury.

Emergency personnel are trained to assess the extent of a chemical burn, begin treatment, and transport victims to the most appropriate hospital.

Emergency officials also may determine the need for more involved decontamination of both the patient and the accident site prior to going to the hospital. It is possible that the patient needs further decontamination before arriving at the hospital. As much of the following information as possible needs to be related to the 911 dispatcher:

  • Number and location of the injured person or people
  • Mechanism or nature of injury (how it happened)
  • Whether emergency personnel can reach the victims (are victims trapped?)
  • Name, strength, and volume or quantity of the chemical causing the burn (give a container or its label of the chemical to emergency personnel, if possible)
  • Length of time of contact with the chemical
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/11/2014

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Burns, Chemical »

Acids are defined as proton donors (H+), and bases are defined as proton acceptors (OH-).

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