Like symptoms of a chemical burn, diagnoses can vary widely. Your healthcare provider will conduct a physical exam to assess the immediate tissue damage caused by the chemical burn, and ask a series of questions to assess any potential damage. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about the substance that caused the chemical burn, how long it was in contact with the skin, and the affected body parts.
If you have a severe chemical burn, your healthcare provider may conduct a blood test to determine whether or not hospitalization is required.
After a physical exam and interview, the chemical burn will be categorized as:
- A First-Degree or Superficial Burn: These types of burns affect only the epidermis or the outer layer of the skin. Minor discoloration of the skin is a common symptom of a first-degree burn.
- A Second-Degree or Partial Thickness Burn: Affecting the epidermis and dermis (second) layers of the skin, these burns can be very red, inflamed, and painful, and can blister.
- A Third-Degree or Full-Thickness Burn: The most severe, these burns cause extensive damage to the epidermis and dermis, as well as bones, tendons, muscles, and nerve endings.
Your healthcare provider will recommend treatment options based on the category of your chemical burns.