Chemical burns, although painful, are typically not serious. Common causes of chemical burns include tile cleaners, car battery acids, drain cleaners, gasoline, oxidizers or wet and dry cement. If you or someone you know has a chemical burn, it is important to know how to perform first aid correctly so that the skin can heal.
If you are experiencing a chemical burn, the cause of the burn must be removed first. If the burn is caused by a dry chemical, brush off any of it that is remaining on your skin. Rinse your skin by running it under cool water for at least 20 minutes. Remove any clothing or jewelry that was contaminated so it does not come into contact with your skin.
After rinsing your skin with cool water, wrap it loosely with sterile dressing or cloth. Protect the area from pressure or friction, and do not disturb blisters or remove dead skin from the burn. Family Doctor states that you should avoid any antibiotic ointments, which can start a chemical reaction that makes your burn worse. A minor chemical burn will heal on its own without further treatment.
To help relieve the pain from a chemical burn, Medline Plus recommends applying cool, wet compresses to the area. You can also take an over-the-counter pain reliever or any pain medication recommended by your doctor.
Seek emergency care if you or someone you know experiences shock, such as fainting or shallow breathing, after a chemical burn. You should also seek care if the burn penetrated the first layer of skin or if it is on your eyes, hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks or over a major joint or large area of your body.
If you have a chemical burn, talk to your doctor to find out if you are up to date on your tetanus vaccine. According to MayoClinic.com, burns are susceptible to tetanus. Remember to keep chemicals out of reach of children, read label instructions carefully and avoid prolonged exposure.