New Advice for Acid Attacks Following Rise in Number of People Requiring Medical help
The number of acid attacks are on the rise particularly in major cities such as in London and the NHS have prepared some new first aid guidelines. Acid attacks either create heat or corrosion of the skin and how effectively the attack is treated determines the lifelong impact of the attack and the survival rate for the casualty. A notable victim of an acid attack is Katie Piper who has become a voice for survivors.
If you remember nothing else, the most useful advice would be ‘report, remove, rinse’ a phrase coined by NHS England which encourages you to first call 999, then remove contaminated clothing and subsequently rinse with water.
Before you approach the casualty it is important to remember that you need to look after yourself as a first aider. To put yourself in danger would only worsen the situation, so ensure that you check that the situation is safe before moving in.
- Report the attack: dial 999
- Remove contaminated clothing carefully.
- Rinse skin immediately in running water. (use saline if you have no running water or better still REDCAP acid neutralising skin wash)
Some more handy tips:
- If the burn is from dry power this can be brushed off the skin.
- Provide at least 20 minutes of irrigation, the more the better…
- If an eye is contaminated, while wearing gloves irrigate with large volumes of clean water and ensure that it drains away from the other eye to prevent cross-contamination.
- Redcap™ Phosphate Buffer Solution has a neutralising effect which significantly reduces the flushing time and the volume of fluid required to dilute and neutralise acid and alkali splashes. Quicker neutralisation, especially on the face, can relieve the distress of feeling ‘underwater’ from flushing, the first aider is also better protected from becoming a secondary victim whilst in contact with the contaminant.