chemical warfare

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Related to Chemical weapons: Chemical Weapons Convention, Biological weapons
The use of chemicals as a weapon of mass destruction, deployed as gases; the tremendous morbidity caused by such weapons in World War I—killing or injuring roughly 1.3 million soldiers—led to their ban under the ‘Geneva Protocol’ of 1925
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chemical warfare

Waging war with toxic chemical agents. Agents include nerve gases; agents that cause temporary blindness, paralysis, hallucinations, or deafness; irritants to the eyes and lungs; blistering agents, e.g., mustard gas; defoliants; and herbicides.

Patient care

Victims of a chemical exposure or attack require decontamination, ideally on site as rapidly as possible by specially equipped and trained Emergency Medical Services (EMS)/fire personnel or hospital-based health care professionals. Decontamination includes isolation of the victim, preferably outdoors or in a sealed, specially ventilated room; removal of all of the victim's clothing and jewelry; protection of any part of the victim's body that has not been exposed to toxins; repeated irrigation and flushing of exposed skin with water (a dilute wound-cleansing solution, such as Dakin’s solution, may be used on skin but not on the eyes or within penetrating wounds); additional irrigation of wounded skin with sterile solution (typically for about 10 min longer than the irrigation of intact skin); irrigation of the eyes with saline solution (about 15 min); cleansing beneath the surface of exposed fingernails or toenails; and collection and disposal of effluent and contaminated clothing. To avoid secondary injuries and exposures, trained personnel who carry out decontamination must wear chemical masks with a filtered respirator, self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA), and splash-resistant protective clothing that covers all skin and body surfaces and is impervious to all chemicals. Following decontamination, victims require triage and treatment.

Treatments for chemical exposures include both supportive care (such as the administration of oxygen, intravenous fluids, analgesics, topical remedies, and psychosocial support) and the administration of antidotes or chemical antagonists such as physostigmine. Details of the treatment for most specific exposures may be found in references such as the National Library of Medicine’s website: www.sis.nlm.nih.gov/Tox/ChemWar.html. See: biological warfare.

Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
Chemical weapons have been around for thousands of years - from poisoned arrows, boiling tar, arsenic smoke to noxious fumes.
Dominic Tierney, a political scientist at Swarthmore College and a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, contends that "the distinction between chemical weapons and conventional weapons is arbitrary, really.
The multinational effort to rid Syria of its chemical weapons programme shows what can be done when the international community comes together.
The chemical weapons agreement came about last year after a deadly chemical weapons attack on a suburb of Damascus killed up to 1,400 people .
The first attempt to ban the use of chemical weapons under international law was the Hague Convention of 1899.
Completion of the initial stage of destruction, overseen by a joint United Nations-Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) team in Syria, is a significant milestone in an ambitious timeline that aims to destroy all of Damascus's chemical weapons by mid-2014.
Under the disarmament timetable, Syria was due to render unusable all production and chemical weapons filling facilities by Nov.
The U.S.-backed Egyptian regime has continued its chemical weapons research and development program.
"Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to use, have underlined the need to enhance the efforts to do away with such weapons."
The 15-member body added that it would work with the OPCW in deploying a chemical weapons 'monitoring and destruction team' - expecting the full cooperation of the Syrian Government - and it appealed to UN Member States for support, including personnel, expertise, funding and equipment.
"The draft resolution is in line with the Geneva framework on the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria," Lavrov said.
The use or loss of control of chemical weapons stocks in Syria could have unpredictable consequences for the Syrian population and neighboring countries, as well as U.S.

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