b. Immediate Care. Chemical burns are the only type of burn which require
immediate care of the burn wound. The chemical must be washed from the body
surface as soon as possible.
c. Phosphorus. Many antipersonnel weapons used in modern warfare contain
white phosphorus. Phosphorus ignites on contact with air. Fragments of phosphorus
from these weapons may be driven into soft body tissue. Most skin injuries from
phosphorus burns, however, are caused by clothing catching fire. This results in
conventional thermal burns.
d. Treatment. The goal is to remove all contaminating chemicals from the
patient's body--chemicals on his skin, chemicals embedded in his body, or chemicals in
clothes touching his body. Chemicals in contaminated clothing left on the patient will
continue to burn him. Follow these procedures and guidelines:
(1) Initial treatment. Speed is essential. Remove the patient's
contaminated clothing. Then, immediately begin flushing the area of a chemical burn
with water. Be careful not to contaminate yourself.
(2) Antidote. After an initial flushing of 5 minutes, remove the patient's
clothing rapidly. Douse the patient again with water containing chemical antidote.
Possible antidotes include diluted vinegar for alkali burns and baking soda (one
teaspoon per pint of water) for acid burns.
(3) Eye care. If the patient's eyes have been involved, flush with copious
amounts of water. Be sure to rinse under the patient's eyelids. (Have the patient
remove contact lenses before you begin flushing with water.)
NEVER use a chemical antidote in the eyes.
Evacuation. Transport the patient to a medical treatment facility.
e. Special Cases of Chemical Burns.
(1) Dry lime chemical burn. When combined with water, dry lime produces
a highly corrosive substance. To treat a patient burned by this substance, remove the
patient's clothing. Brush the lime from the skin (unless large quantities of water, such
as from a garden hose, are available for immediate flushing).
(2) Phenol (carbolic acid). This substance is not water-soluble and will not
be removed well by water irrigation. It is alcohol-soluble and should be washed with
any available alcohol product prior to prolong flushing with water. (If alcohol is not
available, use water for flushing.)