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How to Treat Alcohol Burns

By Grace Ibay ; Updated December 05, 2018

Alcohol is not a corrosive chemical, so ordinary rubbing alcohol does not burn the skin. However, one may get burned if alcohol catches fire and touches the skin. The treatment for alcohol burns depends on the severity of the injury. Minor, or first-degree, burns damage only the outer skin layer and usually heal within a few days. More severe burns, including second- and third-degree burns, affect the deeper skin layers.

  1. Rinse the affected area under cool, running water for 20 minutes to remove any remaining alcohol from the skin. If alcohol splashed into the eyes, flush them with water immediately.

  2. Wash the burned area again if the person complains of increased burning after the first wash.

  3. Cover the burned area with a dry, sterile dressing or clean cloth. Keep pressure or friction off of the affected area. Give over-the-counter pain reliever.

  4. Call 911 if there are signs of major burns anywhere on the body; if the burned area is more than 3 inches in diameter; if the eyes, hands, feet, face or groins are affected; or if the person is in shock or unmanageable pain.

  5. Warnings

    Do not apply ointment to a chemical burn. Do not pop a blister open or remove dead skin from the burned area. Call the Poison Control Center if the alcohol was ingested, or if you are unsure if it is toxic.

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