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Chem Biol Interact. 2013 Dec 5;206(3):491-5.

Treatment of sulphur mustard skin injury.


Since its first use in 1917, sulphur mustard (SM) has been used virtually exclusively as a weapon of war.SM is a volatile liquid that damages any tissue it contacts as a vapour or liquid. SM primarily damages the skin, eyes and lungs producing massive inflammation culminating in the characteristic blistering of the skin which classifies SM as a vesicant. Several mechanisms of action at the cellular level have been proposed for SM, but none has ever been convincingly linked to the production of blisters or vesication. First aid for those contaminated with liquid SM consists of the rapid removal (within a few minutes) of liquid from the surface of the skin, as once penetrated into the stratum corneum it is very difficult to remove. In the absence of a mechanistically based specific therapy, SM skin injury is normally treated in a similar way to thermal and chemical burns, which it resembles pathologically. Effective therapy consist of treating the inflammation and where necessary removal of the dead eschar to facilitate healing. Post surgical care comprises the use of one of a number of available dressings used in thermal burn care and antibiotic creams should infection be present.

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