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Chemical Burns

Chemical burns can occur when strong acids or alkalis come into contact with the skin or the eyes.

Immediate caring for chemical skin exposure

  • If the chemical your child has been exposed to is a dry or powdered chemical, gingerly wipe the powder from the skin and check the package enclosure for emergency advice.

  • For the majority of exposures, immediately rinse the exposed area with running water for 20 minutes. A hose is preferable but you may use a shower or faucet.

  • Do not use water to irrigate dry lime and elemental metals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, lithium, cesium, and titanium. Water can react with these substances to form dangerous byproducts.

  • Carefully remove the contaminated clothing, making sure not to touch the unaffected skin with the contaminated clothing. Cut the clothing away, if necessary.

  • If the chemical has splashed into your child's eyes, begin rinsing his or her eyes immediately and continue doing so until medical help has arrived. If your child wears contact lenses, try to remove them.

  • Cover the exposed area loosely with a dry, clean cloth.

  • Seek medical attention or dial 911 for emergency medical attention. You can also call Poison Control at 800-222-1222.

Medical Reviewers:

  • Perez, Eric, MD
  • Taylor, Wanda, L., RN, PhD