I ended up in the hospital last night after 4 days of agony.
“When traditional Portland cement is mixed with water the dissolution of calcium, sodium and potassium hydroxides produces a highly alkaline solution (pH 13): gloves, goggles and a filter mask should be used for protection, and hands should be washed after contact as most cement can cause acute ulcerative damage 8–12 hours after contact if skin is not washed promptly. The reaction of cement dust with moisture in the sinuses and lungs can also cause a chemical burn as well as headaches, fatigue, and lung cancer. The development of formulations of cement that include fast-reacting pozzolans such as silica fume as well as some slow-reacting products such as fly ash have allowed for the production of comparatively low-alkalinity cements (pH 11) that are much less toxic and which have become widely commercially available, largely replacing high-pH formulations in much of the United States. Once any cement sets, the hardened mass loses chemical reactivity and can be safely touched without gloves.”
I did use gloves and dust masks the day of the pour but I didn’t anticipate other ways cement can get on your skin. I have a nice burn to the left of my mouth where my dirty glove came into contact with my face as I dragged my finger down to scrape off my dust mask.
It gets worse… way worse. I have my concrete filled form in my foyer so that it remains a suitable temperature for curing. One of the first things I do when I wake up is check on my baby (the sink) and then I might climb back into bed to play on the computer. My bare feet carried concrete dust back into my bed. Not enough dust to burn normal skin but enough to burn sensitive skin. Yep, that’s what I’m talking about. My “unit” is completely swollen. All of it. The symptoms started showing up Monday morning. I kept trying to cure myself using vinegar and different anti-itch lotions but the damage was already done. Last night I woke up at 1:30 AM and had enough. It was unbearable so I drove myself to the hospital.
I’m doing better now but still uncomfortable. I can’t wait till I’m looking back on this experience and laughing about it. Right now, it’s not that funny.