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First Aid for Chemical Burns


Note: If a chemical has been swallowed that may be a poison or may cause burning in the throat and esophagus, call your local Poison Control Centre immediately for information on treatment. When you call the Poison Control Centre, have the chemical container with you, so you can read the content label to the Poison Control staff member. The Poison Control Centre can help determine what steps to take next.

It is important to treat the burn correctly to avoid further complications.

Chemical burns rinsed with water

  • Flush the area for at least 20 minutes.
    • If there is powder or dry chemical on the skin, brush as much off as possible before flushing the skin.
    • Put on gloves to protect yourself from the chemical if you need to remove it.
    • Have the person with the burn remove the chemical substance if they are able.
    • Do not use a hard spray of water, because it can damage the burned area.
  • As you flush the area, take off any clothing or jewellery that has the chemical on it.
  • If the area still has a burning sensation after 20 minutes, flush the area again with flowing water for 10 to 15 minutes.

Hydrofluoric acid is flushed with a large amount of water and treated with calcium gluconate. You need immediate medical care.

The most important first aid for a chemical in the eye is to immediately flush the substance out with large amounts of water to reduce the chance of serious eye damage. For any chemical burn to the eye, see Eye Injury: First Aid for Chemical Burns or call your local Poison Control Center.

If evaluation by your doctor is necessary, take the chemical container with you.

Related Information


Adaptation Date: 2/23/2022

Adapted By: Alberta Health Services

Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services

Adapted with permission from copyrighted materials from Healthwise, Incorporated (Healthwise). This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty and is not responsible or liable for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.