Data suggests that the number of acid attacks has doubled in the past three years in the UK, with more victims than ever requiring emergency treatment for severe burns caused by contact with chemical substances. Shockingly, over 400 acid attacks were carried out in the UK between November 2016 and April 2017. The attacks have left victims severely disfigured and in some instances blind in one or both eyes. In response to the increase, NHS England have shared new guidelines to ensure that emergency treatment is given to victims as quickly and effectively as possible.
An acid attack can sadly happen to anyone, anywhere in the UK, at any time and the damage of the attack can be dependent on how quickly the victim can receive emergency treatment. The NHS now estimates that the average medical bill for a victim of an acid attack is around £34,500. With this figure in mind, not to mention the serious and detrimental affects an acid attack can have on an individual and their loved ones, the new guidelines encourage those who witness or suffer an acid attack to Report, Remove and Rinse.
Three Steps to Treating an Acid Attack
Report – as soon as you witness an acid attack taking place, call the emergency services on 999 and let them know your location and what has or is currently happening.
Remove – to prevent further burns to the victim, remove their clothing making sure to protect yourself with material wrapped around your hands so that you don’t come into contact with the substance. If scissors are available, use them to cut away the clothing rather than try to pull t-shirts over their heads to remove as this can cause pools of the acid to distribute to other unaffected parts of their body.
Rinse – to remove acid from the eyes, use water and protect the other eye if it is not affected. Rinse the eye and inner eyelids as much as possible to remove the chemical. Other liquids can be used such as milk, cold beer and cold wine if water is not available.
The new guidelines have been introduced to help provide medically sound guidance on how to help a victim of an acid attack in the UK.
Find out more about first aid training and how to treat serious injuries.