Acid attacks: Ambulance Service boss tells public what to do immediately after being targeted

July 18, 2017
| Report Focus News

A shocking spate of acid attacks has struck London in recent weeks with the number of crimes soaring.

Five people were targeted in just 90 minutes in a string of terrifying attacks in the north and east of the capital on Thursday night.

The following evening, another person was attacked with acid in Dagenham.

As concern increases over such attacks, the London Ambulance Service has taken the step of issuing advice to people outlining what to do in the event that acid is thrown at them.

Acid is corrosive and when it comes in contact with the skin can cause intense pain and life-long injury.

It can cause severe damage to the eyes, skin, and surrounding tissue, so it is important to act quickly.

LAS medical director, Dr Fenella Wrigley, says you should immediately remove the chemical causing the burn while protecting yourself with gloves or other suitable object such as a towel.

Any contaminated clothing or jewellery should also be removed to prevent further burning.

The burn should then be immediately rinsed with a gentle, steady stream of cool tap water. The burn should be doused in water for 10 or more minutes.

A shower can be used if available, and mild soap can be used on skin safely, while your eyes should always be protected while washing acid off your skin.

A dry bandage, gauze or clean cotton clothing should then be loosely applied.

For minor burns take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

There are also circumstances when emergency care should be sought, Dr Wrigley said.

This includes when a victim is showing signs of shock such as fainting, a pale complexion or very shallow breathing.

Emergency care should also be sought If the chemical has burnt through the first layer of their skin and a blister has formed, and if the burn covers an area more than three inches (about eight centimetres) in diameter.

In the case that the chemical burn goes all the way round a limb or involves the eyes, hands, feet, face, groin or buttocks, or a major joint such as the knee or elbow, emergency treatment is also required.