Acid Attacks- first Aid guidance
NHS England, in partnership with the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) has published new advice for acid attacks.
The guidance – Report, Remove, Rinse – has been developed with specialist BAPRAS burns and trauma surgeons, who have treated victims of these attacks.
These simple steps can help to reduce immediate pain and damage, and importantly long-term damage.
- Ring 999 and ensure you are safe, make sure you do not come into contact with the chemical.
- If the attacker is present you could be in danger, so protect yourself.
- Try to remove the chemical and contaminated clothing from contact with the skin and eyes – be very careful not to touch or spread the chemical as this could lead to further injuries to the victim or to you.
- Use gloves or other protective materials to cover hands and, if possible, carefully cut away clothing using scissors rather than pulling them off over the head.
- Do not wipe the skin as this may spread contamination.
- If the chemical is dry, brush it off the skin
- Rinse the affected area continuously with clean water as soon as possible to remove any residual chemical.
- Make sure the water can run off of the affected area without pooling on the skin and potentially spreading the chemical to a wider area.
- Only use water – do not rub or wipe the area.
- Stay on the phone until the ambulance arrives and follow any other advice given by the 999 call handler to avoid further injury.
People assaulted with corrosive substances like acid are likely to need a range of different care packages after the emergency response. Ongoing care at hospital may include specialist burns treatment and in some cases may require plastic surgery. Alongside this are the metal health implication for both the victim of the attack and their family.
Full details of the first aid guidelines issued by the NHS can be seen here, alongside specialist support groups