Chemical burns are quite common at home. Some home cleaning products are potential to cause the burns. The superficial chemical burns, fortunately, are able to be treated at home without any professional medical care. Proper methods in treating these burns will be time-saving, effective, and beneficial in speed up the healing process. However, different chemical burns might require different treatment methods.
Stopping Chemical Reaction
Before applying any kinds of treatments for chemical burns, it is important to firstly stop the entire chemical reaction on the skin. To do this:
- Remove any jewelries which can engage in chemical reaction. Clothing near the wound site will also need to be removed to prevent further chemical reaction.
- Brush off dried chemicals to minimize the effect on the skin and maximize the treatment effect later.
- Rinse the chemicals off with tap water to remove existing chemicals and debris left on the wound site.
- Avoid washing off the burn with too-cold or too-hot water to prevent damaged skin tissues.
Calming off the burnt skin
After cleaning the burnt skin and stop the chemical reaction on the wound site, it is important to neutralize the affected area. This treatment is important to be done before any medication is applied onto the burnt skin. To calm off the burnt skin, some steps are:
- Try to wash the burn several more times if the sensation of burning increases.
- Apply damp towel onto the affected skin and leave it for several minutes until the pain and burning sensation subside. This is also important to prevent any left harmful irritants, which can cause irritation and infection to the wound site.
As soon as the burning sensation subsides, you are able to treat the pain and tingling sensation resulted by chemical burns. Treat this kind of wound very gently in order to prevent it from causing more severe wound. Chemical burn treatments depend on what chemicals causing the damage. Proper identification of the inducing chemicals will enable you to provide proper treatments to promote faster healing.
- Most chemical burns caused by batteries, drain cleaner, or bleach commonly heal on its own after some days, even without any medications. However, if these chemicals are swallowed instead only cause superficial burns, it is important to get medical assistance immediately to prevent any severe effects on the body and inner organs.
- Chemical burns to the mouth, eyes, and other body parts with mucous membranes should not be treated at home. Call the doctor immediately to get a professional help, as the caused pain can be excruciating. However, flushing the affected skin with tap water immediately after the burn can be useful and relieving. Avoid any grease application on the wound site as it may trigger negative reaction which makes the wound worse.
- Minor chemical burns can be left to heal by its own after rinsed off with tap water for 5 to 10 minutes. If the burnt skin is wounded, put a sterile gauze upon the wounded site and change the dressing regularly. Since antibiotic ointment is not recommended for a chemical burn, it is important to attach the bandage loosely. Too tight bandage will not be easy to remove, and this may cause the burnt site to be wounded after any dressing change.
- If the burn does not cause any open wound to the skin, but trigger tingling sensation and pain, you can use the cold compress to make the pain subside. To do this, soak a towel into iced water and apply it onto the burn site. This will also constrict the blood vessels to reduce inflammation caused by chemical burns. Repeat the application several times until the pain is reduced.
- If the wound on the chemical-burnt skin is severe and causes bleeding or drainage, it is important to get an immediate medical help. Pain relieving medications can be taken before you get any professional help with the burnt site.
- As the burn heals, scabs may form. Avoid picking these scabs to prevent re-bleeding and infection. It is also important to not scratch the wound site although itching sensation might occur.