THERE has been an alarming spike in acid attacks on the streets of Britain – and the vicious crime can cause catastrophic and life-changing injuries.
As the threat persists, it is important to know the first aid dos and DON’Ts, if you find yourself aiding a victim. Here’s all you need to know.
Universal News (Europe) Resham Khan was doused in acid on her 21st birthday – and now she wants the government to do more to crack down on attackers
How should you treat acid burns?
The most important thing you can do in the event of an acid attack is to douse the victim in running water, rather than a wet cloth.
The water dilutes the acid, and so it’s important to keep refreshing with new, clean water, as quickly as possible.
New NHS England guidance Report, Remove, Rinse instructs anyone who comes across a victim how to help.
Dr Adrian Boyle, a spokesman for the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said it is important people rushing to help victims of acid attacks do not become secondary victims themselves.
Getty Images The most important thing you can do in the event of an acid attack is douse the victim’s wounds in fresh, running water for as long as possible
He told The Sun Online: “It is vital to get across that people don’t become secondary victims.
“If you see someone exposed to acid don’t try and brush it off with your hands, or you’ll end up burned yourself.
“If the substance is in powder form just brush it off, using a piece of clothing to protect your skin.”
And it’s not just acidic liquids that are used in attacks – very alkaline substances can be used too.
Dr Boyle added: “Alkaline powders that get wet can suddenly start to react.”
His three-step plan is to, first and foremost avoid becoming a secondary victim, call for help and dial 999, and if water is available, use it to dilute the acid.
Campaign group Stop Acid Attacks advise people follow these guidelines, in the event they are victim of, or witness an acid attack:
- Immediately rinse the affected area with fresh water or saline (saltwater) solution – always make sure this source is uncontaminated
- Keep washing the burned body part with cool water until the pain begins to subside. This can take around 45 minutes
- Take off any clothes/jewellery that have made contact with the acid
- As tempting as it is to add cream to give some relief, this could affect the treatment prescribed by doctors
- If possible, loosely wrap the burn area in sterilised gauze, which helps prevent the wound from contamination
- After hospital treatment, patients are advised to stick to a strict aftercare regime – which includes changing dressings on a regular basis
- In serious cases, doctors may prescribe physiotherapy for victims whose nervous system has been affected by the burn
- Others will be offered skin grafts to help reduce symptoms and cosmetic signs of the attack
- As acid assaults are traumatic, patients may also be advised to seek counselling
What should you NOT do in the event of an acid attack?
You may think milk could act as a soothing remedy, in the event of an acid burn, but experts advise it’s a bad idea.
Milk is generally alkaline, though as it goes off it becomes more acidic.
When alkaline milk comes into contact with acid it will cause an exothermic reaction, which creates more heat and can do more damage.
Plus, milk could increase the risk of infection.
So, always, always stick to running water – and lots of it.
Resham is rebuilding her life after being struck with acid – which left burns covering her body
How common are acid attacks in Britain?
A Sun investigation revealed that the UK is being hit by an alarming rise in acid attacks – with two victims burned every day.
The increase is being fuelled by gangs switching from using knives and guns to try to avoid tougher sentences if caught.
Police figures show that there were 454 victims last year — up from 261 in 2015.
But the true number may be more than 700, according to charity Acid Survivors Trust International.
And we also reported on the horrific news that two men carried out five brutal acid attacks within a terrifying 90 minute spree in London.
These brutal assaults follow the release of a moving open letter, which was penned by aspiring model and acid attack victim Resham Khan.
It has also been reported that a female paramedic working in London also had chemicals thrown into her face as she responded to a 999 call.
Meanwhile, another Sun investigation revealed that a 15-year-old was still able to buy acid in shops in East London, despite shop keepers being urged not to sell to those under 21.
Twitter / @sarah_cobbold Five brutal attacks were carried out in 90 MINUTES in Hackney Road and surrounding areas
What should you do if you witness an acid attack?
Ring 999 immediately if you witness or are caught up in an acid attack.
Until medical assistance are on the scene, follow the Stop Acid Attacks guide to help alleviate the painful effects.
The emergency services call operator should also give you advice on how to deal with the situation.
Arthur Collins, ex-boyfriend of reality TV star Ferne McCann, guilty of acid attack at London club
Contraception options explained – from the Pill, implant and injection to the coil and condoms, these are the MOST effective methods
WHEN it comes to safe sex, the first thought that will pop into the minds of most is the humble condom. And many women will also be familiar with the contraceptive pill – but which method of …
WHEN it comes to safe sex, the first thought that will pop into the minds of most is the humble condom.
And many women will also be familiar with the contraceptive pill – but which method of protection is best for you? We get the lowdown.
Getty Images When it comes to contraception, your first thoughts are likely to turn to the Pill or condoms, but there are 15 different methods available on the NHS in the UK, one expert reveals
How many types of contraception are available in the UK?
There are 15 different types of contraception on offer in the UK, which can be obtained through the NHS.
Of this selection, there are only two options available to men – the male condom and a vasectomy, or sterilisation – one of the more drastic options.
Scientists are, however, in the process of developing two new options, the male pill and male contraceptive injection.
Natika Halil, chief executive of the sexual health charity, the Family Planning Association, told The Sun Online more about the different methods of contraception available, and who they best suit.
What are the long-acting methods of contraception?
Though not as commonly used as the Pill or condoms, there are four methods of contraception which do not require you to remember to take them each day, or when you have sex.
Ms Halil said: “Once you have them they last for months or years.
“They are the most effective methods we have – other than sterilisation – because they don’t rely on you remembering to take or use them, so they’re incredibly reliable at preventing unplanned pregnancy and great if you have trouble remembering to use methods like the Pill.”
Just because they are long-lasting options, Ms Halil said: “it doesn’t mean you can’t stop using them sooner if they don’t suit you, or you decide you want to get pregnant”.
Getty Images Condoms are still one of the most popular choices and have the big advantage of being the only method to also help protect you from sexually transmitted infections
What is the IUD or copper coil?
This is a small plastic and copper device that is fitted in a woman’s womb, and can last for between five and 10 years.
The coil, or intrauterine device, is more than 99 per cent effective, but can cause heavier or painful periods in some women.
Ms Halil told The Sun Online: “We still hear the myth that women who’ve never been pregnant can’t have one – but actually most women can use one.
“It’s a good option for women who can’t, or don’t want to, use hormonal methods of contraception.”
The coil can also be used as emergency contraception, and is more effective at preventing pregnancy than the emergency pill.
What is the implant?
This is a small flexible rod that goes under the skin in your upper arm and releases a progestogen hormone.
It’s more than 99 per cent effective and lasts for three years.
Progestogen-only contraception is good if you can’t use oestrogen methods and in some women can help reduce heavy and/or painful periods, although it can also cause irregular bleeding.
Most women can use progestogen-only contraception but a doctor or nurse will always check your medical history first.
Getty Images Combined hormonal methods contain both oestrogen and progestogen and usually make your periods regular, lighter and less painful, making them a popular choice
What is the IUS?
The IUS (intrauterine system) is a small plastic device put into your uterus where it releases a progestogen hormone.
It can last for three to five years and is more than 99 per cent effective.
Like the IUD, most women can have one, whether or not they have ever been pregnant.
What is the progestogen injection?
This is one of the most commonly used long-acting methods as it’s widely available from GPs as well as contraception and sexual health clinics.
It involves having an injection containing the hormone progestogen every eight to 13 weeks.
It often stops your periods completely which a lot of women (but by no means all) see as an advantage.
It’s not as long-acting as the other long-lasting methods and for it to be most effective you need to get your next injection on time.
It’s 99 per cent effective if used perfectly every time but in real life it’s around 94 per cent effective.
Ms Halil said: “Most women can have one but it won’t suit you if you’re planning to get pregnant quite soon – periods and fertility can take up to a year to get back to normal after stopping the injection.
“And it isn’t the right option if you don’t want your periods to change.”
Getty Images The copper coil is a small plastic and copper device that is fitted in a woman’s womb, and can last for between five and 10 years. The coil is more than 99 per cent effective, but can cause heavier or painful periods in some women
What is the progestogen-only Pill?
This pill is another of the common forms of contraception.
It relies on a woman remembering to take the pill every day, so thought it is more than 99 per cent effective if used perfectly every time, the reality is a little different.
Typically, it is around 91 per cent effective.
Ms Halil said: “It may help with pre-menstrual symptoms and painful periods.”
What is the combined Pill?
Combined hormonal methods contain both oestrogen and progestogen and usually make your periods regular, lighter and less painful, making them a popular choice.
However, not all women can use combined methods.
Ms Halil explained: “A doctor or nurse will always need to go through your medical history first – and they can have some serious side effects to look out for.”
The combined pill is still one of the most commonly used methods but it does rely on you remembering to take a pill every day.
Although it’s 99 per cent effective if used perfectly every time, in real life it’s around 91 per cent effective.
What is the vaginal ring and the patch?
The contraceptive vaginal ring and the contraceptive patch release the same hormones as the pill but the ring lasts for three weeks and the patch only needs to be changed once a week.
So if you want a combined method but taking a pill every day is a problem, these can be better choices, Ms Halil said.
What is the pulling out method?
New research has revealed that more women in Europe rely on the “withdrawal” method of contraception than anywhere else in the world.
The results, which come from analysis of a UN report by Superdrug, show that 7.8 per cent of couples use the method, even though it is one of the least reliable.
When the method is used correctly, the pull-out method is around 96 per cent effective, meaning that in a year, four women in every 100 will get pregnant using the method.
However, the method is rarely used perfectly, leading to around 27 out of 100 women who use withdrawal get pregnant each year – just over one in four.
“Pulling out” dominates Southern Europe, Southern Asia and Western Asia as a popular method of contraception – and has even overtaken the Pill in some countries, such as Iran.
The Sun’s Dr Carol Cooper says: “The withdrawal method is just about the least effective method there is, if you can even call it a method at all.”
Getty Images Ms Halil warned, if you don’t follow the instructions on a condom packet every time they’re only around 82 per cent effective (male condoms) and 79 per cent effective (female condoms)
How effective are condoms?
Condoms are still one of the most popular choices and have the big advantage of being the only method to also help protect you from sexually transmitted infections.
They’re suitable for everyone (although if you have a latex allergy you’ll need a non-latex type) but they do need to be used carefully.
When used perfectly every time, male condoms are up to 98 per cent effective and female condoms up to 95 per cent effective.
But, Ms Halil warned, if you don’t follow the instructions every time they’re only around 82 per cent effective (male condoms) and 79 per cent effective (female condoms).
She said: “You can use condoms alongside a different method of contraception for added protection but never use a male and female condom at the same time as they can damage each other.”
What is haemophilia, what are the causes and symptoms of the blood clotting condition and how is it treated?
HAEMOPHILIA is an extremely rare condition, which affects around one in every 10,000 men in the UK. But what causes the blood disorder, and how is it treated? Here’s what you need to knowR…
HAEMOPHILIA is an extremely rare condition, which affects around one in every 10,000 men in the UK.
But what causes the blood disorder, and how is it treated? Here’s what you need to know…
Getty – Contributor Haemophilia is an extremely rare condition – affecting one in 10,000 British men, and some women
What is haemophilia?
Haemophilia is a condition which affects the blood’s ability to clot.
Normally, when you cut yourself, clotting factors combine with blood cells called platelets to make the blood sticky. This makes the bleeding stop eventually.
But haemophiliacs don’t have as many blood clotting factors as they should – meaning they bleed for longer than usual.
www.netdoctor.co.uk The condition affects the blood’s ability to clot
What causes haemophilia?
Haemophilia is an inherited condition, which normally affects men.
Woman can also be carriers of the affected gene, and may experience symptoms.
It’s sometimes known as the ‘royal disease’ as Queen Victoria is believed to have been a carrier of the gene.
She is thought to have passed it onto several of her daughters, who married other European royals – meaning many of their kids died young.
Nowadays, haemophilia is treatable – and those with the condition should be able to have a long and normal life.
Getty Images – Getty It’s sometimes known as the ‘royal disease’, as Queen Victoria was thought to be a carrier
What are the symptoms of haemophilia?
The symptoms range from mild to severe, depending on the number of blood clotting factors the patient has.
The main symptom is prolonged bleeding, which can be seen through:
- Long nosebleeds
- Wounds taking a long time to stop bleeding
- Bleeding gums
- Skin that bruises easily
- Pain and stiffness around the joints because of internal bleeding
Parents should seek medical advice if your child bruises easily, has bleeding that doesn’t stop, has symptoms of joint bleeds (tingling, pain, stiffness, swelling, heat or the joint becoming tender), or if you have a family history of haemophilia – and are planning to have a baby.
There is a small, but serious, risk of a haemophiliac developing a bleed inside their skull. Symptoms of this include:
- Severe headache
- Stiff neck
- Change in mental state/confusion
- Speaking difficulties and slurred speech
- Double vision
- Loss of co-ordination and balance
- Paralysis of the facial muscles
Call 999 immediately if you think someone is bleeding inside their skull.
Getty – Contributor Haemophilia is treated with injections from genetically engineered clotting factor medicines
How to spot asthma symptoms, what are the causes of asthma attacks and what are the 2017 guidelines?
AROUND 5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma. But what are the symptoms and what causes asthma attacks? Here’s what you need to know. What are the symptoms…
AROUND 5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma.
But what are the symptoms and what causes asthma attacks? Here’s what you need to know.
Alamy 2 Asthma is caused by inflammation of the breathing tubes that carry air to and from our lungs
What are the symptoms of asthma and what causes asthma attacks?
Asthma is caused by inflammation of the breathing tubes that carry air to and from our lungs.
According to the NHS, the main symptoms of asthma are:
- Wheezing (a whistling sound when breathing)
- A tight chest
Canopy – Getty 2 Treatment for asthma is based around two goals; relieving symptoms and preventing future attack
Although the above symptoms can have a number of causes, they are likely signs of asthma if they happen regularly and keep coming back, are worse at night or early morning, or seem to be in response to an allergen.
The severity of the above symptoms can vary between different people.
When these symptoms suddenly worsen temporarily, it is known as an asthma attack.
Asthma attacks can be caused by allergens, such as animal fur or pollen, cold air, exercise, chest infections or other irritants – such as cigarette smoke.
Is there treatment available for asthma?
While there are various treatments available for asthma, there is currently no cure.
Treatment is based around two goals; relieving symptoms and preventing future attacks.
Treatment involves taking occasional or daily medications – usually via an inhaler.
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