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What are Chemical Burns?

chemical burns

Burns from chemicals can happen anywhere – home, school or work – wherever chemicals are handled. What do you need to know?

Chemical burns are caused by what are known as “caustic” or corrosive substances. Caustic is defined as something that is “able to burn or corrode organic tissue by chemical action.”

bleach - chemical burnsCorrosive substances can be found in many common products such as:

  • Ammonia
  • Bleach
  • Car battery acid
  • Drain cleaners
  • Paint removers
  • Pool chlorination products
  • Sanitizers and disinfectants
  • Toilet bowl cleaners

Chemical burns result when these corrosive substances come in contact with the skin, when breathing the noxious fumes or accidentally swallowing some of the substance. These burns can be severe; the longer the exposure, the more extensive the damage might be. Chemicals tend to “eat away” at the skin damaging deeper tissue. Depending on the chemical, the length of contact and concentration, these burns can result in serious, sometimes permanent, damage.


Chemical Burn Injuries

Chemical burns are classified like any other burn injury: first degree, second degree and third degree.

The most common symptoms of chemical burns include:

  • Blackened or dead skin
  • Irritation, redness or burning
  • Numbness or pain
  • Loss of vision or vision changes (if contact with the eyes)

If the chemical was swallowed, you may experience:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Low blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle spasms

Treating Chemical Burns

Know what chemicals you could potentially be exposed to and have a treatment plan in place. In general, you want to:

  • Remove the chemical and rinse the skin under running water for 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Remove any clothing or jewelry that could have been contaminated by the chemical.
  • Wrap the burned area with a dry sterile dressing.

Seek medical treatment immediately if:

  • The burn is larger than 3” in width or length
  • The burn is on your face, hands, feet, groin or buttocks
  • The burn occurred over a major joint such as the knee
  • The pain can’t be controlled with over-the-counter medication
  • You have signs of shock, such as shallow breathing, dizziness and low blood pressure

Suffering a Chemical Burn

Burn injuries – chemical or not – can be extremely painful and can take a long time to recover from. Serious burn injuries may require some form of rehabilitation and may leave permanent damage, such as some form of disfigurement or even amputation.

Severe burn injuries can require:

  • skin replacement
  • cosmetic surgery
  • occupational therapy
  • counseling
  • patient education

On the job, your first recourse is through workman’s compensation; however, sometimes burn injuries may be caused by the negligence of others. In those cases, you may be eligible to have your medical expenses taken care of by that negligent party.  Examples of this may include:

  • Use of a defective product
  • Car or motor vehicle accidents
  • Dangerous conditions in public places, such as restaurants or schools

When you need a personal injury lawyer in the Kansas City area, contact the lawyers at Nash & Franciskato for a free, no-obligation review of your case.

Our knowledgeable staff is available at (877) 284-6600.


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When you need a personal injury lawyer in the Kansas City area, contact the lawyers at Nash & Franciskato for a free, no-obligation review of your case.

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