Following recent homophobic attacks in Vauxhall the following NHS advice in treating chemical burns and eye flushing is being circulated to all clubs/first aiders – please share where appropriate.
Treating chemical burns
If a chemical, such as bleach, or acid, burns your skin, you should follow the advice below.
- Wearing protective gloves, remove any chemicals from the skin by running the affected area under cool tap water for 20 minutes, or more. If the chemical involved is in powder form, such as lime, brush it off the skin before running the skin under water.
- Remove any jewellery, or clothing, that may have been exposed to the chemical.
- Apply a cool wet towel to help relieve pain.
- Cover the burnt skin with a dry, sterile dressing, or clean cloth.
- If you experience an increased sensation of burning, rewash the skin for several more minutes.
You should call 999 or visit your local accident and emergency (A&E) department so that the burn can be assessed and, if necessary, treated.
Flushing your eye
If you have loose particles in your eye, or your eye has been exposed to chemicals, flush it out with an eyewash or plenty of clean water for at least 10 to 15 minutes. If you wear contact lenses, remember to remove them before flushing the eye.
You can flush your eyes in the following ways:
- Sit down and slant your head so the injured eye is lower than the unaffected eye (ideally over a bath or sink), then use a glass or cupped hand to repeatedly pour water across the eye from the bridge of the nose.
- If both eyes are affected, tilt your head back (keeping it level) and use a glass or cupped hand to repeatedly pour water across both eyes from the bridge of the nose.
- If you have access to a shower, aim a gentle stream of warm water at your forehead or just above the affected eye, while holding the affected eye open.
- If you are working outside, you can use a garden hose to rinse your eye, using a very low flow setting.
All eye injuries caused by chemical exposure should be seen by an eye doctor or nurse as soon as possible after flushing. You should also seek immediate medical advice if there are still any foreign bodies in the eye after flushing it (see below).
Do not try to remove any objects embedded or stuck in the eye yourself, as this can damage the eye further. These should only be removed by an eye expert.