Ukraine, Health Ministry disseminates information on how to provide first aid in case of phosphorus burns

War in Ukraine, Russian aggressors allegedly used banned weapons such as phosphorus devices during their invasion war. This necessitated the issuing of instructions to citizens by the Ministry of Health in Kiev

The use of phosphorous munitions by the Russians in Ukraine has been repeatedly recorded, reports the Ministry of Health

Phosphorus ammunition, reports the Ukrainian Ministry of Health in a note, is a weapon that contains white phosphorus and spreads an incendiary compound whose combustion temperature exceeds 800°C.

White phosphorus is active on contact with air and the area of its distribution can reach several hundred square metres.

Ukraine, here are the step-by-step instructions issued by the Ministry of Health on first aid for people injured by phosphorus weapons

First aid for phosphorus burns:

  • Remove all clothing from the injured person using personal protective equipment (gloves). Do not touch visible white phosphorus particles with your hands.
  • Wash the skin thoroughly with cold water to remove phosphorus particles.
  • Cover the affected skin with a clean damp cloth (in cold water)
  • Do not use any liquids for washing other than clean cold water
  • Do not apply ointments to burns and wounds
  • Be careful not to induce hypothermia in the victim!!!
  • Do not leave the victim alone before the arrival of the doctors

In case of white phosphorus in the eyes

  • Move away from the area of attack
  • Wash eyes with plenty of ‘cold’ water for at least 15 minutes
  • Apply moist eye wipes (compresses). this will help to prevent re-ignition of white phosphorus particles
  • In case of ingestion or inhalation of white phosphorus
  • Leave the area of attack as soon as possible
  • If the victim has breathing problems, help him/her get into a comfortable position to ensure passage of the airways. Facilitate breathing with the side position.
  • Do not leave the victim alone before medics arrive
  • Do not induce the victim to vomit. Vomiting and faeces can cause burns on contact with the skin.

This vademecum is in itself a measure of how violent the war is being fought, and no further reflection is needed: the world is watching and judging.

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