Acid Attacks – first aid advice on treatment for corrosive burns

Acid Attacks - new first aid advice on treatment for corrosive burns


While still not common, reports of attacks by corrosive substances have risen. NHS England in partnership with the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), have released new guidance as to the best way to treat someone who has had some form of corrosive substance thrown at them as part of an acid attack.

Immediate and appropriate first aid treatment has been shown to make a dramatic difference to the amount of pain, suffering and long term scarring experienced by the casualty.


It is important to Report the crime and call 999 immediately – but put the phone on speaker or ask someone else to call so you don’t delay giving immediate First Aid.

Contaminated clothing  should be swiftly and very carefully removed, ensuring you don’t pull any clothing that has stuck to the skin and that you protect yourself from being injured by the corrosive substance.

Then the affected skin should rinsed under copious amounts of  running water until medical attention arrives, flushing the eyes and face (and the airway if affected) first. A bottle of water is insufficient, you will need a lot of water, ideally from a tap, hosepipe or shower.

They should then be transported to hospital by the paramedics as soon as possible.

In summary:

  • Report the attack: dial 999.
  • Remove contaminated clothing carefully.
  • Rinse skin immediately in running water.

David Ward, President of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), said: “BAPRAS surgeons specialising in burns and trauma have seen first-hand the devastating impact on patients admitted to A&E after vicious corrosive substance attacks. They cause severe pain, scarring which can be life-long, and can damage the sight, sometimes leading to blindness. Unfortunately these vindictive attacks are on the increase.

“The minutes after an acid attack are critical for helping a victim. This guidance BAPRAS has published with NHS England gives the important, urgent steps a victim or witness can take to help reduce the immediate pain and damage, and long-term injuries.”


Latest first aid advice on acid attacks

Latest First Aid advice on Acid Attacks

Posted by First Aid for Life on Friday, 1 September 2017

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