If you suffer a severe chemical burn, it can completely change your life. According to WebMD, chemical burns may affect your skin, mouth, eyes or internal organs. Severe injuries require emergency treatment and follow-up care.
The following information may help patients understand chemical burns.
Chemical burn types
Much like other types of burns, physicians split chemical burns into three categories. First-degree or superficial burns only affect the outer layer of skin. Those who suffer first-degree burns may only have painful, reddened skin with no permanent damage. A second-degree burn or partial thickness burn may cause swelling and blisters, along with scarring. Last, a full-thickness or third-degree burn eats through the skin and damages the underlying tissues. The area may appear white or black. Some third-degree burns are painless because of nerve damage.
Various chemicals may cause severe burns. Bases and acids are the most common cause of burns. Chemicals such as battery acid, concrete mix, ammonia and metal cleaners may cause burns.
Chemical burn treatments
If you suffer from a severe chemical burn, you may require IV fluids while in emergency care. Physicians may have to perform decontamination. If you have serious pain, the doctor may need to provide adequate pain control. A severe burn generally requires surgery or skin grafts. During a skin graft, the physicians transplant healthy skin to the burn site. After the initial surgeries, you may also require cosmetic surgery to help reduce some of the scarrings.
If your scars limit your mobility, you may require physical therapy. Unfortunately, some of the most common chemical burn complications include pain, scarring or loss of fingers and toes. For those who swallow a chemical, you could suffer permanent issues with your gastrointestinal tract.