Chemical Burn

What is a chemical burn?

Chemical burns are burns from alkalis and acids such as toilet bowl cleaners, car battery acid, drain cleaners, or other chemicals splashed on the skin. Most of these accidents cause only first-degree burns. They usually peel like a sunburn over the following week.

How is it treated?

Remove contaminated clothing and brush off any dry chemicals. Then rinse off the exposed part of your child's body with clear water for 20 minutes, using the shower or tub. Don't rub the skin during this rinse. Don't apply any burn ointment because washing it off will cause pain. If the burned area is large, cover it loosely with a wet, clean sheet.

When should I call my child's health care provider?

Call immediately after you have followed the first aid treatment described above.

Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2006-02-27
Last reviewed: 2006-02-23
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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