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How to treat acid burns and advice on what to do if you witness or are involved in an acid attack

Advice from NHS Choices says chemical burns require immediate medical attention at an A&E department. Photo: Neil Squires/PA

If you are the victim of an acid attack or witness one taking place, it is important to act as quickly as possible to minimise damage to the eyes and skin.

Advice from NHS Choices says chemical burns require immediate medical attention at an A&E department.

Immediate first aid After calling 999, try to carefully remove the chemical and any contaminated clothing by rinsing the affected area using as much clean water as possible.

If you're helping someone else, they advise to put on appropriate protective clothing.

Remove the chemical and affected clothing Try to remove the chemical and contaminated clothing from contact with the skin and eyes, but be very careful not to touch or spread the chemical as this could lead to further injuries to the victim or the person helping them.

Use gloves or other protective materials to cover hands and, if possible, carefully cut away clothing such as T-shirts, 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 continuously with clean water Rinse the affected area continuously with clean water as soon as possible to remove any residual chemical.

Try to 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.

Treatment in hospital Immediate treatment for chemical burns in hospital includes: - continuing to wash off the corrosive substance with water until it's completely removed - cleaning the burn and covering it with an appropriate dressing - pain relief - a tetanus jab if necessary

For more information on acid and chemical burns, visit the NHS Choices website.