Like most caustic chemicals, when acids contact the skin, they cause damage in the form of a burn. Acid burns frequently occur in the home or at work. It is important to treat acid burns correctly because otherwise, the chemicals can continue to damage the skin after the first contact, explains the Merck Manual. Minor acid burns can often be effectively treated at home.
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Remove the cause of the burn immediately while trying to prevent any further contact with your skin. The National Institutes for Health suggests brushing away any excess in the case of dry chemicals.
Carefully remove any clothing or jewelry the acid might have touched.
Flush the acid from the affected skin with cool, running water for at least 20 minutes, explains MayoClinic.com. This helps ensure that all the acid is removed and prevents further skin damage.
Make a wet, cold compress with a sterile pad if possible, or clean cloth if not, and apply to the acid burn area. Hold the compress on the wound as long as needed for pain control.
Wrap the burned skin loosely with a sterile bandage, if possible, suggests the National Institutes of Health. A clean bandage can be used if a sterile one isn't available. Be careful when removing the bandage to prevent tearing the skin.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever to help soothe the burned area, explains MayoClinic.com. Make sure not to exceed the dosage on the bottle, and never give aspirin to children without first speaking with your doctor.
Call for medical attention immediately in the case of second or third degree burns, or if you show signs of shock such as shallow breathing or feeling faint. Also, according to MayoClinic.com, a health care provider should examine any burns on the face, hands, feet, hands, groin, or buttocks.