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Published: 09/12/2011


Hydrofluoric acid (HF) is one of the strongest inorganic acids.

A severe burn can be considered if:

1. HF of 50% concentration or greater burns >1% body surface area
2. HF of any concentration to >5% body surface area
3. Inhalation of >60% HF concentration

Mechanism of toxicity:

1. Local tissue damage secondary to hydrogen ions
2. Local tissue damage secondary to fluoride ions forming insoluble salts with calcium and magnesium
3. Systemic effects of hypocalcemia, hyperkalaemia, hypomagnesaemia, including cardiac arrhythmias / sudden death

Burn manifestations:

1. Relatively little surface reaction.
2. Delayed severe pain in the region.
3. Time of onset is related to the concentration of HF.


If gel is not available dissolve10% Calcium gluconate in 3 times teh volume of KY jelly.