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Bichromate

skin, disease and hands

BICHROMATE DISEASE.A cutaneous disease produced by prolonged and frequent handling of potassium dichromate, whether dry or in solution, or by allowing the solution to enter a scratch or abrasion of the skin. In the first case it takes the form of a thick red rash, which, if closely examined, shows minute watery particles, accompanied by violent irritation. The skin then becomes destroyed, dries up, and exfoliates in bran-like scales. In winter time, when the hands are chapped, they are much more easily affected. The disease is usually confined to the back and sides of the hand and fingers. The hard portions of the palm remain unaffected. If the skin be free from scratches, cuts and abrasions, only a prolonged and constant working with bichromate will produce the disease. There are several remedies, though the prevention by wearing india-rubber gloves is better than any of them. Make up a preparation of Glycerine z ounce Carbolic acid 20 to 30 drops Water 6 ounces Rub this well into the skin, and wash the hands frequently during the day with carbolic soap.

Before bedtime apply strong nitrate of mercury ointment. By following this treatment up for several days, and carefully avoiding handling the bichromate, except with india-rubber gloves, no ill effects will be experienced.

If the disease be caused by the solution penetrating a scratch or abrasion of the skin, the matter is more serious, and should be attended to at once. A smarting sensation will be felt, when the hands should be well washed under a tap and the poison sucked out. If after a little time the smarting sensation is resumed, the hands should be placed in warm water, and afterward in dilute ammonia for a few minutes. This should be followed by poulticing. If these precautions are not taken it is possible that an ulcer may form, which will eat deeply into the flesh, defying all efforts of cure. It is stated that the citrine ointment of the pharmacopoeia has proved an effectual remedy.