chemical warfare

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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

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.

References in periodicals archive ?
One week after the suspected gas attack, the US, Britain and France launched a coordinated missile strike against sites and research facilities near Damascus and Homs with the purported goal of paralyzing the Syrian government's capability to produce chemicals.
This is not the first instance of such gas attacks in the war-torn country.
The members of the cult were arrested months after the 1995 sarin gas attack after police conducted raids in hundreds of locations all over the country.
The group, who mixed Buddhist and Hindu meditation with apocalyptic CULT LEADER Shoko Asahara teachings, staged a series of crimes including simultaneous sarin gas attacks during rush hour in March 1995.
This bizarre episode of the Syrian war--a gas attack followed by a series of Trump strikes, gives the impression that gas attacks are rare in the country, and receive an international response with a frenzy of media attention.
That's how it worked last April, when Trump 'punished' Bashar al-Assad's regime for another alleged poison gas attack in rebel-held Idlib province by dropping 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on the Syrian airbase at Shayrat from which the attack supposedly originated.
Tribune News Network THE world has reacted with shock and horror to reports of over 100 civilians, majority of them children and women, killed in yet another suspected gas attack by the remorseless Assad regime in Syria.
THERESA MAY has said the UK and its allies are considering any action that is necessary in the wake of the poisoned gas attack in Syria.
THERESA May has said the UK and allies are considering any action that is necessary in the wake of the poisoned gas attack in Syria.
BEIRUT -- Syrian opposition activists and rescuers said Sunday that a poison gas attack on a rebel-held town near the capital has killed at least 40 people, allegations denied by the Syrian government.