Poisons affecting the skin

All homes contain substances capable of causing serious injury if they come into contact with the skin. These substances include detergents, acids and alkalis found in many cleaning products, and petroleum distillates such as white spirit and petrol. Asphalt used in road surfacing can also cause local effects, particularly if it is still hot when contact occurs. The risk of effects on the skin from these chemicals is increased if decontamination in delayed. The method of decontamination will depend on the substance involved but in many cases simple bathing is sufficient. Removal of oily or greasy substances may require the use of a commercial degreaser and sticky material may need to be softened with oil or fat to facilitate removal. Decontamination after contact with corrosive substances may require prolonged and repeated water irrigation to ensure thorough removal. Another potential source of dermal injury in pets is exposure to psoralen-containing plants (such as hogweed, Heracleum spp.) in combination with ultraviolent light (sunlight) which can result in erythema, blistering and dermatitis. In this case, management is supportive with avoidance of sunlight.

Nicola Bates -