First aid for acid burns

Last updated 8 January 2021

Acid attacks used to be incredibly infrequent in the UK, but there are concerns the numbers appear to be rising.

Here's how to help someone who has a chemical or acid burn.

How to treat an acid burn

1. Cool the burn under cold running water for at least 20 minutes. This will help to cool the burn and wash out the chemical. If you don’t have access to water, you can use other harmless liquids (ones that you could drink such as milk or cola).

 2. Call 999. Anyone with an acid burn should be seen in A&E - read more on how to call an ambulance

Comforting the person is also a really important part of any first aid as it calms the person and decreases stress levels, which have been shown to help with recovery.

All burns, no matter how they are caused, are treated the same with cold, running water.

But when the burn is caused by acid or a chemical, they need to be flushed with cold running water for much longer.

This is also a serious injury, meaning the person harmed must be seen by medical professionals in A&E.

Last reviewed: December 2020

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