Health Emergency Preparedness and Response
Australian Clinical Guidelines for Acute Exposures to Chemical Agents of Health Concern: A Guide for the Emergency Department Staff
These guidelines were prepared by the Australian Health Protection Committee.
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PDF printable version of Australian Clinical Guidelines for Acute Exposures to Chemical Agents of Health Concern:A Guide for the Emergency Department Staff (PDF 2255 KB)
Improved telecommunications and transportation have led to increased mobility, accessibility and diversity around the world. Undoubtedly, all these have led to the growing threat of chemical, biological and radiological terrorism and the advent of new weapons. While biological and radiological agents pose serious threats, chemical agents are easier to fabricate and can produce the desired acute impact.
There are various versions of clinical guidelines on chemical warfare agents, mostly with a non-Australian focus. New agents are added every day and many industrial and commercial chemicals of interest are not covered. These Clinical Guidelines have been produced in collaboration with various Australian surgical and medical specialists, with the intention to provide health facilities around Australia with standardised management of chemical warfare, toxic industrial and commercial chemical agent exposure, which may occur in a disaster. Where possible, a consensus has been achieved between practicing specialists. The Clinical Guidelines do not however necessarily represent the views of all the clinicians in Australia.
It is important to note that the Clinical Guidelines do not constitute a textbook and therefore deliberately provide little, if any, explanation or background to the chemicals and treatment outlined. They are designed to acquaint the reader rapidly with the chemical and the clinical picture it can produce, thereby providing practical advice regarding assessment and management. The recommendations contained in these guidelines do not indicate an exclusive course of action or serve as a standard of medical care. Variations, taking individual circumstances into account, may be appropriate.
The authors of these Clinical Guidelines have made considerable efforts to ensure the information upon which they are based is accurate and up to date. Users of these guidelines are strongly recommended to confirm that the information contained within them is correct by way of independent sources. The authors accept no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in the guidelines.
The authors encourage all clinicians, hospital and health care managers to make themselves aware of these Clinical Guidelines and to become adequately prepared to provide a suitable response to a chemical event within their area.
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