Chemical burn: treatment, symptoms, stages and causes

Chemical burn is a trauma of the skin, and sometimes of deep layers of the skin, caused by the action of the chemical reagent on the aggressive action. Getting damage is easy enough, because a modern person even in the household conditions is surrounded by a lot of chemicals.

As a rule, household injuries are easily transferred, because they are not deep. Much worse is the production damage, because in these cases people are in contact with more dangerous reagents.

Features of the disease

Children and men are more likely than other injuries. If in the latter case the risk is related to the professional activity, the children are damaged in domestic conditions when they come into contact with acetic acid, household chemicals, etc.

Chemical burns by different reagents can be cardinally different from each other. Some do not cause such deep injuries and flow easier, affecting only the surface layers.

Chemical skin burn( photos)

chemical burn

Pro 1, 2, 3, 4 degrees of chemical burns read on.

Degrees of chemical burns

Degrees of damage with a chemical burn are as follows:

  • I degree. Damage affects the epidermis. This is an insignificant trauma, without an abundance of clinical manifestations, which does not bear any serious consequences.
  • II degree. There is already damage to the dermis up to the papillary layer. The main nervous and vascular structures remain intact. There are already blisters here, symptoms( hyperemia, pain) become brighter.
  • III a. Traumatized as papillary layer, and elements involved in microcirculation. On the surface of the skin there may be an open wound of a burn or a large bubble with bloody contents.
  • III b. The skin is burned down to the fiber.
  • IV degree. Deep tissues are affected - muscles, tendons, subcutaneous fat. Sometimes the injury extends even to the bone.

What is a chemical burn will tell this video:

Causes of the occurrence of

You can get injured due to contact with different reagents:

  • volatile oils( phosphorus, bitumen);
  • acid( acetic, hydrochloric, hydrofluoric);
  • household chemicals;
  • alkali( barium, potassium hydroxide);
  • chemical compounds( gasoline, pesticides);
  • salts of heavy metals( zinc chloride, silver nitric acid).

Symptoms of

Symptoms depend on the depth and extent of the lesion. It may include such signs:

  • pain,
  • redness,
  • blisters,
  • itching,
  • nausea,
  • lethargy,
  • is a brown or dark wound.

The resulting scab will have a different texture, depending on the substance that caused the chemical burn. It will be moist with an alkaline substance. Such a trauma usually captures a large area of ​​the skin. With acid damage, the area of ​​damage is clearly visible, the scab itself is dry.

The shade of the skin may also change, depending on the substance acting on it.

Diagnostics of

A lot of attention is paid to the questioning of a patient or witnesses who saw the moment of injury, since it is possible to determine exactly how much damage a burn caused after a few days. Also reveal the depth and extent of the injury.

For a chemical skin burn and its treatment in home, as well as inpatient settings and first aid to it, see below.


First aid

chemical burn types Timely chemical first aid is required. It includes a number of actions:

  1. It is necessary to remove clothing if it has absorbed the reagent, and then wash it off the skin. It is best to put the limb under a cold jet, as the liquid must drain from the site, rather than remain on the body. Wiping the affected area with a towel and even immersion in a sink is strictly prohibited! It is necessary to wash off the reagent for about half an hour, and if it is very aggressive, such as alkali, then it needs to be done longer. It is necessary to hold the affected area for a long time under a stream even in cases when the substance was on the skin for about 15 minutes.
  2. Next follow the sensations. When a burning sensation occurs, the reagent flushing procedure must be repeated.
  3. If you know which substance caused the burn, you can neutralize its destructive effect on the skin. So, if the injury provoked acid, prepare a weak concentration of alkaline solution( for example, from soda), and then wash the surface. If the cause of the pathology is alkali, then use a weak acid solution( lemon, acetic).With an unknown nature of the substance, it is better not to wash the skin with anything, only with water.
  4. In the future, a bandage is applied to the affected area. It can be dry or impregnated with novocaine solution. Ointments and antiseptics are not applied in order not to prevent doctors from determining the main criteria for the burn, affecting the tactics of treatment - its degree and depth.

Physiotherapeutic method

Physiotherapy treatment is connected at the later stages of healing. Physiotherapy simultaneously stimulates tissues for better regeneration and restores human defenses, improves blood flow and prevents microbial activity in the wound. To treat a chemical burn, such kinds of physiotherapy as

  • irradiation with infrared waves,
  • ultraviolet or
  • ultrasound are used.

About what means to choose and how to treat a chemical burn in home and stationary conditions, read below.

The first aid for chemical burns will be described by this video:

Medical method

Conservative treatment technique is usually used for injuries of I, II, III a degrees. Regularly put on the skin bandages, which are applied to the ointments or special antiseptic compositions. This is sufficient if the burn is limited. In cases where it affects extensive areas of tissue, additionally conduct infusion therapy, detoxification and antibacterial measures. All procedures take place in the burn unit.

Treat lesions locally in order to create good healing conditions, accelerate regeneration, and at the same time prevent development in the wound of pathogenic microflora. First, from chemical skin burns, it is better to use ointments with a light texture( water-soluble).To those include:

  • Synthomycin,
  • Oflocaine,
  • Levosin,
  • Levomekol.

These medicines will help clear the wound from the necrotic mass and accelerate recovery. For mild degrees of burn, you can still use:

  • Bepanten,
  • Agrosulfan,
  • Rescuer,
  • Panthenol.

If the lesions are deep, then the ointments will be used at the very last stage, when the healing begins actively.


Surgical intervention is performed not in the early, but in the distant period. Individually, the method of operation is selected. There are several:

  1. Amputation of .Used only for very serious injuries, when rescue of the limb is not possible. Occasionally, this intervention is used in the spread of necrosis to healthy areas of tissue, or if other techniques have not had an effect.
  2. Necrotomy of the .The technique of intervention consists in excision of the formed scab, which helps to restore the general blood supply in the damaged area. This is the only operation that can be performed urgently, as it is designed to prevent the spread of necrosis.
  3. Necrectomy is used at grade 3 burn if its area is limited. They make a very thorough cleaning of the wound from dead tissue, which has a beneficial effect on the overall recovery, since purulent processes are prevented.
  4. Stepwise necrotomy is the intervention described above, only the operation is performed in parts. Gentle technique helps to better tolerate the removal of extensive lesions.
  5. Skin transplantation .If the trauma has captured a vast area, then the patient is undergoing a transplant of his own or donor skin.

Prevention of disease

chemical burn Compliance with safety when working with any chemical compounds. If the profession is associated with the need to use caustic acids, then the employee must undergo special training.

To prevent household chemical burns:

  • keep all chemical products tightly closed;
  • remove containers in hard-to-reach places;
  • next to food and medicine do not store corrosive substances;
  • contact with toxic products only if the exposed surface of the body is protected;
  • do not allow the evaporation of the connections, and if this happens, then necessarily ventilate the room.

Complications of

Some substances have the property of spontaneous combustion, which creates the danger of obtaining an additional thermal burn. We must not forget that the compounds can be poisonous. In this case, they will have an even more destructive effect not only in the place of the burn, but also on the whole organism.

The most common complications that occur when a chemical is burned are:

  1. Kidney dysfunction( 2%).
  2. Sepsis( 1%).
  3. Shock( 6%).
  4. Problems with the lungs( 2%).
  5. Toxemia( 15%).


The forecast is heavily influenced by the depth of the burn and a number of other features:

  • aggressiveness and reagent concentration;
  • how long contact with the substance was;
  • general health status;
  • amount of chemical;
  • skin sensitivity.

With the first two degrees of burn, healing is active even without active medication. The forecast for III and IV degrees of trauma is less favorable.

About what to do if the child has a chemical eye burn, Dr. Komarovsky himself will tell in this video:

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