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.
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