Rare Case of Wet Cement Burn reported in JEM
Burns are a common condition presenting to the emergency department; the majority are thermal burns. However, in a recent case report, Dr Aaron J Lacy and his team have reported a case of a 7-year-old boy who accidentally got wet cement all over his head and torso ended up in the emergency room with burns after exposure to wet cement. The report has been published in The Journal of Emergency Medicine on June 02, 2021.
Wet cement can cause severe chemical burns as cement becomes highly alkaline when mixed with water. Wet cement can have a pH as high as 14, the authors noted in the report. They wrote, "Wet cement is often a poorly recognized cause of alkali burns".
Treatment of wet cement burn usually involves rinsing the skin with a copious amount of water. Physicians also use polyethene glycol to wash the skin, but there is no evidence that these are better alternatives to water.
The authors explained about a 7 years old boy who was transferred from an outside facility to the emergency department f Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee for further evaluation of burns after exposure to wet cement. The child was presented with superficial or first degree burns on his head, neck and torso and some visible cement particles clung to his skin and hair.
The child's skin was irrigated with water until all the cement was completely removed. He was then referred to a burn specialist for additional evaluation. As the patient required no further intervention, he was then discharged and made a full recovery.
The authors wrote, "Serious morbidity and mortality can occur from unrecognized cement burns, and early decontamination and evaluation by a burn surgeon is necessary. It is critical that emergency physicians both recognize and appropriately treat this condition in a timely manner to prevent adverse outcomes."
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