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
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.

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: See: biological warfare.

Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
A Syrian girl receiving treatment after an alleged poisonous gas attack
The Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported hospital medics as blaming the poisonous gas on Egyptian forces whom they said had sprayed a chemical into the tunnel during a crackdown on smuggling.
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Dubbed the "Nobel Prize for the Environment", the Goldman Environmental Prize has been awarded to Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla, for their role in keeping the memories of the disaster alive, and for leading the struggle for justice since the poisonous gas leak from Union Carbide's pesticide factory in Bhopal, India, killed thousands of people.
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A blowout at a natural gas field in southwestern China that sent a plume of poisonous gas into the air Tuesday has killed at least 191 people and poisoned scores of others, official media reported Thursday.
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German chemists at IG Farben during the Holocaust produced Zyklon B, the poisonous gas used with deadly effect at Birkenau.