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Chemical burns can be caused by organic and non-organic substances in the solid, liquid and gaseous state. The degree of damage depends on the amount of substance, its concentration and time of contact with the skin.

The pathogenesis of chemical burns is different from the pathogenesis of thermal lesions. The action of concentrated acids on the skin causes clotting of tissue proteins (with the formation of acid albuminates) and dehydration of the affected tissue due to the high hydrophilicity of the acid (coagulative necrosis). A dry "pressed in" scab is formed, there are no blisters.

Concentrated alkalis (caustic potassium, caustic soda, quicklime, caustic soda), unlike acids, do not coagulate, but emulsify proteins, forming alkaline albuminates, as a result of which they quickly penetrate deep into the tissues and cause their swelling. Formed wet (colliquation necrosis). Loose wet scab easily separated, exposing bleeding ulcer. Subsequently, necrosis extends to the surrounding tissues due to the violation of the colloidal properties of their proteins.

By the depth of damage chemical burns are divided in the same way as thermal burns into four degrees.
The basic principle of first aid to an injured person when a chemical substance gets on the skin is its immediate and complete removal. The best way to do this is a long (10-15 minutes) flushing with a stream of water under pressure. If clothes are dirty, they should be removed (cut if necessary).

The previously recommended method of neutralization with the help of antidotes has proved to be little effective in practice, since, as a rule, the necessary antidote is not at hand, and searching for it or preparing it leads to an unacceptable loss of time. Neutralization can only be applied as an additional measure after a vigorous washout.

In the future, the treatment of chemical burns is carried out in accordance with the same principles as thermal. Due to the fact that chemical burns, as a rule, are deep, they require treatment in a hospital using surgical methods.
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