Statistics suggest that between 2010 and 2015, there were 882 acid attack cases in India.
Section 357C of Indian Penal Code makes it mandatory for hospitals – whether public or private – to provide free of cost treatment to the victim. But if immediate help is far, it’s important to act quickly to minimise the damage that can be caused by the chemical burn.
The first 10 minutes are extremely crucial for helping a victim.
Whether you’re a victim or a witness, here is some advice you can follow if such an incident occurs – to avoid serious facial injuries.
1) The first step is to wash the affected area with as much water as you can. This will disperse the chemical and stop the burning. This should be done for 20 minutes at least while ensuring no puddles are formed. Make sure the water isn’t dirty.
2) Meanwhile, alert an ambulance or ask someone in the vicinity to call one to the area while you continue dousing the affected area with water.
3) Remove any jewellery or clothing that’s come in contact with the acid in the affected area.
4) If the eyes have come in contact with the acid, make sure the victim doesn’t touch them as it will worsen the situation and also burn their hands while rubbing their eyes.
5) If possible, wrap the affected area loosely with a sterilized gauze as it will stop dirt from entering.
Once the victim is being treated in the hospital, it is important to ensure a strict level of hygiene. An acid burn can get infected very easily, so make sure the room and washroom have been cleaned and the food containers are sterilised.
Even with the dressing, it needs to be ensured that the burns don’t come in contact with each other.