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Date of last update: 10/18/2017.

Forum Name: Dermatology Topics

Question: Hydrofluoric Acid damage to fingers

 irby - Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:32 pm

I used a rust stain remover without gloves, did not read directions until next day, now fingers feel like they have been smashed, The rust stain remover is by Whink for all colorfast fabrics and contains Hydrofluoric Acid, What should I do or expect? Please help, and Thank You Irby
 Dr.M.jagesh kamath - Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:37 am

User avatar Hello,It is very important to follow instructions properly especially when using Hydrofluric acid for any purpose.It is so potent that you may not notice the damage long after it has been done.This can enter the skin and can reach for the bones and compete with the calcium there and could cause injury.Washing the area of burn for 5 minutes and massage with calcium gluconate gel is the treatment.
You must seek medical attention though the injury may seem minor.The concentration of hydrofluric acid less than 5% may not do severe damage if the exposure is in a small area,but do not be complacent.
Do this right away.Best wishes.
 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:54 am

User avatar Hi,
Dr.Jagesh has already clarified most of the aspects of Hydrofluoric acid poisoning.
I will add only a few facts/details to what has already been explained.

Firstly,Solutions of < 20% can produce pain & redness with delay up to 24 hours after skin exposure. 20 to 50% produces pain & redness within 8 hours, and solutions of >50% produce immediate burning, redness and blister formation.

Secondly, there is one rather unique property of Hydrofluoric acid - the property of spreading under the finger(and toe) nails without involvement of the nails themselves.Bearing this in mind,during emergency management of Hydrofluoric acid burns of the hands and feet, it is important to pair the nails so that thorough cleaning and application of calcium gluconate gel under the nails becomes possible. Otherwise,the continued absorption may occur via the nail bed.
Best wishes!

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