Daily chores often lead into minor injuries and one of the most common injuries is chemical burns. Chemical burns might be caused by strong acids, drain cleaners, batteries, and some other skin-burning substances. The burns are not always visible as open wounds. Sometimes you do not recognize the wound physically, but can tell that you have chemical burns from the burning sensation and pain it causes.
First aid for chemical burns
With all wounds, including chemical burns, immediate first aid is very important. This will help you get rid of any left debris, minimize scars, and make the pain subside faster. Minor chemical burns can be treated at home and some steps to perform the first aid include:
- Removing the chemicals causing burns.
- Removing contaminating clothing and jewelries.
- Rinsing the burn under tap water for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Applying loose bandage around the burn site.
- Change the dressing when needed.
Severe chemical burns, on the other hand, will require immediate medical help, as it may cause deeper and larger open wound, which is prone to infection. Oral medications—pain reliever such as ibuprofen can be taken before getting any medical helps to alleviate the caused pain and discomfort.
Home remedies for chemical burns
If you are sure that the chemical burn is minor and can be self-cared, some simple and affordable home remedies can be performed to promote healing. While rinsing the burn site with tap water is considered as the most effective home remedy and first aid, there are some other remedies which may work well, too with minor chemical burns.
Cold compress is beneficial for chemical burns with no open wound, as this remedy might help reducing inflammation caused by strong chemicals. To perform this, you might need a towel soaked into cold water and put onto the wounded site until the pain and inflammation subside.
Aloe vera also has a soothing property, which is useful for reducing burning sensation caused by chemicals. It also promote faster healing and minimize scarring, since aloe vera is enriched with high level of vitamin E.
Plain petroleum jelly is also a good home remedy for chemical burn, especially if the burn causes an open wound. This will help promoting moist environment which is substantial for new skin cell growth. Dab a thin layer of petroleum jelly onto the burnt skin and repeat until the burning sensation decreases.
Healing the burn externally is as important as nourishing the body internally. Keeping the body hydrated by drinking enough water every day is important for the entire healing process. This might be the most affordable home remedy with the most beneficial effect on the burn healing.
Mint and tea
Mint leaves and chamomile tea bags make a great solution to reduce the pain from chemical burns. To make the mixture, boil a pan of water and put the mint leaves and chamomile tea bags into the pan. Stir well and strain the mixture. Keep it in the fridge overnight to let it cool down and dab it onto the burn using a cotton ball to reduce the tingling sensation, pain, and inflammation.
Fresh milk is also a good home remedy for chemical burn. Fresh milk applied to the burnt skin will not only speed up the healing process, but also reduce the inflammation in non-visible burn. After applied, leave it sit for several minutes and rinse it off with water.
A drop of vinegar diluted in cold water is a solution you can use to compress the burn. This will lessen the pain and promote faster healing. Vinegar is more suitable for chemical burn which is not accompanied with an open wound.
Chemical burns which are resulted in open wounds should be prevented from debris and bacterial infestation. To do this, dress the wound site with a loose bandage or gauze. This will protect the wound from friction and pressure, other than the bacteria. Avoid applying antibiotic ointment since it may cause unnecessary reaction with the burning chemical, which may inhibit the entire healing process.