Of the 450,000 burn-related injuries requiring medical treatment across the United States each year, about 3% of them are treated for chemical burns. Chemical burns are caused by various corrosive chemicals that are harmful to the body.
A chemical burn is an injury to the skin, eyes, mouth or internal organs caused by corrosive chemicals harmful to human contact. Sometimes referred to as caustic burns, chemical burns can happen anywhere chemicals are present. From home and work to school and public areas, chemicals can cause harm if not used properly or accessed accidentally.
The most common types of household and everyday-use chemicals that can lead to chemical burns include:
Most chemical burns happen on the face, eyes, arms or legs. If you experience a chemical burn of the mouth or throat, call 9-1-1 right away.
Symptoms of chemical burns include:
Some symptoms, such as swelling and redness, take minutes to hours after exposure to appear.
Less common symptoms of a chemical burn include:
Chemicals can penetrate deep into the body in rare instances, causing severe tissue damage.
Treatment for chemical burns is based mainly on the severity of symptoms experienced and burn classification.
If you experience a chemical burn, do the following as quickly as possible:
Other treatments that may help your chemical burn include:
In some cases, physicians may prescribe a topical or oral antibiotic.
Depending on the severity of exposure, chemical burns can fall into any of the three categories of burns.
First-degree burns affect the top layer of the skin. They are considered the most minimal type of burn and cause minor redness, pain and swelling. Often, they can heal at home without the need for outside medical treatment.
Second-degree burns affect the top two layers of your skin. They’re most recognizable by their moist or wet appearance on the surface of the affected area and often require medical attention to avoid severe infection.
Third-degree burns are the most critical type of burn affecting all three layers of the skin. They can penetrate so deeply that they affect underlying nerves, tissue, muscles and bones. In most cases, where nerves are affected, the area is numb due to nerve damage. If you suspect that you are experiencing a third-degree burn, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Most chemical burns require medical treatment right away.
Seek emergency medical care or call 9-1-1 if your chemical burn:
Visit Coastal Urgent Care of Bossier & Haughton to get the chemical burn treatment you need today. We welcome walk-in appointments 7 days a week and are here to help you feel better sooner.