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Hydrofluoric Acid: Burns and Systemic Toxicity, Protective Measures, Immediate and Hospital Medical Treatment.

BACKGROUND: Hydrofluoric acid is a commonly used chemical in many industrial branches, but it can also be found as an ingredient in household products such as cleaning agents. Possessing high corrosive potential, HF acid causes burns and tissue necrosis, while when absorbed and distributed through the bloodstream, its extremely high toxic potential is expressed. Acute symptoms are often followed by pain, particularly in the case of skin burns, which intensiveness does not often correlate with the expressiveness of the clinical findings. Even exposure to low-concentrated solutions or gasses, or low-doses of high-concentrated acid, may provoke delayed systemic disorder which may eventually have a lethal outcome.

AIM: Therefore, having information regarding the possible hazardous effects of hydrofluoric acid usage, a variety of symptoms, as well as a treatment approach, is of great importance in the case of HF exposure.

METHODS: Available scientific articles published in literature databases, scientific reports and governmental recommendations from the internet websites, written in English, using the following search terms "Hydrofluoric acid, skin burns, eye injury, ingestion, inhalation, systemic toxicity, decontamination, antidote, medical treatment" have been reviewed.

RESULTS: This review is useful not only for physicians but for everyone who may come in contact with a person exposed to HF acid.

CONCLUSION: It highlights the mechanism of action, presents the acute and chronic symptoms, personal and general protective measures and devices that should be used, as well as decontamination procedures, immediate, antidote and hospital medical treatment.

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