Burns, of any type, can be painful and even lead to unsightly scars and long term health complications. If you have experienced a burn, it is important to seek out medical attention immediately, but also be well versed in what your healthcare provider will need to know.
Initially, when seeking medical attention for a chemical burn, your healthcare provider will need to know the origin of the chemical burn. By this we mean, your doctor will need to know what type of chemical resulted in the burn to your skin. Because chemical burns can occur from home based products, beauty products, spa treatments, and even work-related chemical exposures, knowing what type of chemical burn will be vital to your care.
If you are confident about the location and product that caused your chemical burn, it is important to locate the material safety data sheets, MSDS, that are associated with the chemical in question. For example, if your chemical burn occurred as a result of a product you used at work, your employer should keep all MSDS sheets on file. The material safety date sheet, MSDS, is a government regulated document that outlines what the composition of a product is, breaking it down into chemical and element components, and then it provides instructions on how to treat injuries arising out of the chemical burn.
While MSDS sheets do provide direction on how to treat burns associated with the chemical in question, a doctor should still be consulted. It is never wise to follow the directions in the MSDS sheet without also seeking medical attention in the process. While immediate first aid can be given to a chemical burn, a doctor should still evaluate the complication to ensure there are no internal injury risks or long term complications associated with healing. In some cases of chemical burns, oral medications will need to be prescribed in addition to medications to treat systemic infections.
Chemical exposure can lead to a variety of health complications and even our home based products can lead to risks if we are not careful in how we apply or use them. When suffering any type of chemical burn, be sure to seek medical attention but always track down the MSDS sheet so that you, and your doctor, will know exactly what chemicals have come in contact with your skin and how to treat the burn effectively.
Sources: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, by Henk Giele, pp. 101-105.