cause injuries that are generally referred to as chemical
the airway to swell shut. Keep the airway open by tilting
burns. For the most part, these injuries are not caused by
the chin up and forward, or if necessary, by holding the
heat, but by direct chemical destruction of body tissues.
tongue down with a flat object. Place the victim with
The areas most often affected are the extremities, mouth,
facial burns in a sitting position, as this will further ease
and eyes. Alkali burns are usually more serious than acid
his breathing. Transport victims with facial bums to a
medical facility as soon as possible for further
bums for alkalies penetrate deeper and burn longer.
TREATMENT. When such burns occur on board a
2. Remove all rings, bracelets, and similar articles,
out immediately, without waiting for the arrival of
even from unburned areas, since swelling may develop
medical personnel. The following procedures should be
rapidly and be severe.
followed when you are treating chemical burns:
3. To relieve pain initially, apply cold compresses
1. Begin flushing the area immediately with large
to the affected area or submerge it in cold water. Cold
amounts of water, using a shower or hose, when
water not only minimizes pain but also reduces the
available. Do not apply water too forcefully. Continue
burning effects in the deep layers of the skin. Gently pat
to flood the area while his clothing, including shoes and
dry the area with a lint-free cloth or gauze. Aspirin is
also effective for the relief of pain.
socks, is being removed, as well as afterwards.
NOTE: There are two exceptions to the above
4. Cover the burned area with a sterile dressing,
treatment: they are alkali burns and acid burns. For
clean sheet, or unused plastic bag. When the hands and
feet are involved, dressings must be applied between the
alkali burns caused by dry lime, the mixing of water and
lime creates a very corrosive substance. Dry lime should
fingers and toes to prevent the skin surfaces from
be brushed from the skin and clothing, unless large
sticking to one another. Coverings, such as blankets or
amounts of water are available for rapid and complete
other materials with a rough texture, should not be used
flushing. For acid burns caused by phenol (carbolic
because lint may contaminate and further imitate the
acid), wash the affected area with alcohol because
phenol is not water soluble. Then wash with water.
5. Do not attempt to break blisters, and do not
When alcohol is not available, flushing with water is
remove shreds of tissue or adhered particles of charred
better than no treatment at all.
clothing. Never apply greasy substances (butter, lard, or
2. After thorough washing, neutralize the
petroleum jelly), antiseptic preparations, or ointments.
These may cause further complications and interfere
chemicals that remain on the affected area.
with later treatment by a physician.
6. When the victim is conscious and not vomiting,
prepare a weak solution of salt (1 teaspoon) and baking
Do not attempt to neutralize a chemical
soda (1/2 teaspoon) in a quart of warm water. Allow the
unless you are exactly sure what it is and what
victim to sip the drink slowly.
substance can effectively neutralize it. Further
7. Treat for shock. Maintain the victim's body heat,
damage may be done by a neutralizing agent
but do not allow him to become overheated.
that is too strong or incorrect. For acid burns,
mix a solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda in
8. When the victim's hands, feet, or legs are
a pint of water and flush it over the affected area.
affected, they should be elevated higher than the heart.
9. When a burn victim must be transported to a
3. Flush the area again with water and gently pat it
medical facility, try to contact the facility before he
dry with sterile gauze. Do not rub the area.
arrives to allow the facility time to prepare for
4. Transport the victim to a medical facility.
immediate treatment. Inform them of the degree of the
burn, the location, and the percentage of the body area
CHEMICAL BURNS OF THE EYE. Flush the eye
immediately with large amounts of fresh, clean water.
Acid burns should be flushed at least 5 minutes, and
alkali burns flushed for as long as 20 minutes. Because
of the intense pain, the victim maybe unable to open his
When acids, alkalies, or other chemicals come in
eyes. When this occurs, hold the eyelids apart so water
contact with the skin or other body membranes, they can
can flow across the eyes.