In this chapter the medical effects and care of chemical agent injuries are reviewed, as well as the use of self-protective masks, garments, and other chemical agent protective equipment.
Of all the weapons of mass destruction (WMD), chemical weapons are seen as being among the most terrifying of all weapons. Yet, with the proper training and equipment, a basic knowledge and understanding of the nature and properties of the chemicals will be gained making it possible to operate in a chemically contaminated environment and perform proper patient care. This chapter reviews the medical effects of chemical weapons, emergency field treatment, and expedient decontamination of patients. The proper protective equipment necessary when encountering chemical agents, such as self-protective masks and garments are reviewed. Five different chemical agents and their potential lethality and necessary emergency care procedures are presented: (1) nerve agents; (2) vesicants; (3) cyanide; (4) pulmonary agents; and (5) riot control agents. With the knowledge of symptoms, signs, and specific management and antidote treatments, critical and optimal chemical patient care is possible. Tables
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