Chemicals that touch skin can lead to a reaction on the skin, throughout the body, or both.
Chemical exposure is not always obvious. You should suspect chemical exposure if an otherwise healthy person becomes ill for no apparent reason, particularly if an empty chemical container is found nearby.
Exposure to chemicals at work over a long period of time can cause changing symptoms as the chemical builds up in the person's body.
If the person has a chemical in the eyes, see first aid for eye emergencies.
If the person has swallowed or inhaled a dangerous chemical, call a local poison control at 1-800-222-1222.
Depending on the type of exposure, the symptoms may include:
Note: If a chemical gets into the eyes, the eyes should be flushed with water immediately. Continue to flush the eyes with running water for at least 15 minutes. Get medical help immediately.
Burn from chemicals
Harchelroad FP, Rottinghaus DM. Chemical burns. In: Tintinalli JE, Kelen GD, Stapczynski JS, Ma OJ, Cline DM, eds. Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 6th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2004: chap 200.
Updated by: Eric Perez, MD, St. Luke's / Roosevelt Hospital Center, NY, NY, and Pegasus Emergency Group (Meadowlands and Hunterdon Medical Centers), NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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