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Chemical Skin Burn

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

Examples of chemicals that can burn skin are found in cleaning products, paint stripper, and pesticides. Chemicals may also be found in some workplaces, such as wet or dry cement or battery acid. Signs and symptoms may not develop for several days. A burn may be worse than it appears at first. It may also get worse over the first few days.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

A Foley catheter

is a tube put into your bladder to drain urine into a bag. Keep the bag below your waist. This will prevent urine from flowing back into your bladder and causing an infection or other problems. Also, keep the tube free of kinks so the urine will drain properly. Do not pull on the catheter. This can cause pain and bleeding, and may cause the catheter to come out.

Intake and output:

Healthcare providers may keep track of the amount of liquid you are getting. They also may need to know how much you are urinating. Ask healthcare providers if they need to measure or collect your urine.


  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
  • Antibiotics help prevent or treat an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Anti-itch medicine may be given to help decrease irritation and itching. This medicine may be given as a cream, pill, injection, or through your IV.

Blood and urine tests

may be done to check your electrolyte (body salts) levels. They may also be done to get information about your overall health.


  • Debridement may be done 1 or 2 times each day. Healthcare providers remove damaged tissue to prevent infection, decrease inflammation, and improve healing. A graft may be placed over the area where skin was removed. A graft may be artificial or made from donor skin.
  • IV fluids may be given if your burns cover a large area of your body. You may receive liquids through a tube that is placed in your vein to treat your dehydration. The liquids may also include electrolytes, such as potassium.

Physical therapy

may be needed if the skin over a joint is burned. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. You may need to continue physical therapy at home.


You may develop an infection in the burn area. You may have scarring after your burn heals. Scarring over joints can cause loss of motion. You may lose body fluids if your burn covers a large area of your body. This could lead to dehydration. You may need surgery to remove skin or scar tissue.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.