Chemical Burns

Chemical burns are a type of burn caused by contact with a corrosive substance like an acid or base. These include things like bleach, acid, ammonia, disinfectants and other types of harsh chemicals.


Stop the burning process.  

Remove the burning agent (brush off dry powder chemicals prior to irrigation) and irrigate with water.


Remove jewellery, rings, watches and clothing from the effected area.

Irrigate with Diphoterine™ (if available) to neutralise all chemicals burns except Hydrofluoric acid.

If ph strips are available, test the effected skin and some non-effected skin and compare results. Continue to irrigate until the ph is normal.


Cover the patient to keep them warm.  

Cover the burn using a dry dressing or clingwrap.  

*DO NOT wrap of fix any dressings circumferentially


Seek help.

Call 000 or present to your nearest emergency department if the following applies:

  • Burns of special areas – face, hands, feet, genitalia, perineum, major Joints and circumferential limb or chest burns 
  • Burns with potential inhalation injury 
  • Electrical burns 
  • Chemical burns 
  • Burns with pre-existing illness 
  • Burns associated with other injuries 
  • Burns at the extremes of age – young children and the elderly. 
  • Burn injury in pregnant women 
  • Non-accidental burns 
  • If you are concerned  
  • Pain not managed with simple over the counter analgesia  
  • Available dressings unable to contain and cover injury

When to call a doctor?  

Most minor burns can be treated with first-aid, however, if the burn is severe you will need to seek medical help or call 000.  

If the burn is deep you may want to follow up with your GP to see if you need further care or an updated tetanus shot.