What to do after a chemical burn

As the Mayo Clinic’s website explains, some chemical burns are readily apparent, while others do not appear on the skin until hours later. Either way, first brush or wipe off the chemical, using gloves, a towel or a brush. Take off contaminated clothing or jewelry, and rinse the burn under a gentle, cool stream of water for at least 10 minutes.

Next, apply a loose bandage or gauze. If the wound hurts, take an over-the-counter pain reliever, and consider a tetanus shot.

In severe cases, the burn can penetrate past the top layer of skin and grow larger than three inches. If this occurs, or if the burn encircles a limb or reaches a major body part, or if the victim seems to go into shock, others should call 911 immediately.

Fast intervention makes a big difference in a chemical burn victim’s prognosis, but these burns can still be very serious. Victims can suffer permanent injury, or even die as a result. Such burns can be caused by another person’s negligence, such as when someone carelessly spills a dangerous chemical or a manufacturer fails to properly warn consumers about safe usage of a product. Such negligence cannot go unpunished, and victims should not have to pay the costs of their injuries.