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Does Pepper Spray Affect Asthma

Can Pepper Spray Be Lethal

Does Pepper Spray Give Me Asthma?

Pepper spray is known as a nonlethal weapon, or a weapon that cannot kill people. While death is rare, reports have linked several deaths with the use of pepper spray.

In 2003, a Department of Justice report on an investigation into 63 deaths of people in custody found that pepper spray directly contributed to the deaths of two people. The police had used pepper spray in the arrest of all the individuals.

The report attributed the cause of these deaths to the pepper spray, citing preexisting asthma as a contributing factor. Causes of death for other study subjects were drug use, disease, positional asphyxia, or a combination of factors.

The same report concluded the following:

Pepper spray inhalation alone does not pose a significant risk for respiratory compromise or asphyxiation, even when combined with positional restraint.

Global Distribution Products And Commercial Importance

Capsicum is adapted to tropical or subtropical climates, but can be grown in temperate climates in glasshouses or under protected cultivation. The Food and Agriculture Organization production yearbooks do not distinguish between C. annuum and other species, or between pungent and nonpungent peppers. Over the last two decades, total world production of chillies and green peppers increased from about 7 million to nearly 17 million tonnes. Over half of this is produced in Asia. China alone produces over 40% of the world total.

The FAO trade yearbook shows that, in 1997, North America and Europe were net importers of over 100;000;t of pimento. Asia and Africa were net exporters. China contributed about 40% of Asia’s exports, thereby earning over US$72 million, while India contributed a further 30% and earned approximately US$40 million.

Probably less than 10% of total global production of hot peppers is for export. The remainder is grown for local use. Mexico leads the world in chilli consumption at 15;g per head per day. Sweet peppers are eaten less regularly than hot peppers but are consumed in larger quantities . At these levels of intake, Capsicum adds considerably more than spice to the diet of some of the world’s poorest people.

Patrick M. McNutt, Tracey L. Hamilton, in, 2015

Long Term Effects Of Tear Gases On Respiratory System: Analysis Of 93 Cases

Peri Arbak

1Department of Chest Diseases, Duzce University Medical Faculty, D├╝zce, Turkey

2Emergency Department, Ankara Numune State Hospital, Ankara, Turkey

3Department of Chest Diseases, Ankara University Medical Faculty, Ankara, Turkey

4Department of Chest Disease, Private Practice, Ankara, Turkey

5Department of Chest Diseases, Istanbul University Medical Faculty, Istanbul, Turkey

6Department of Chest Diseases, Pamukkale University Medical Faculty, Denizli, Turkey


1. Introduction

Tear gases have been used as Riot Control Agents for a long time by police forces. The mostly used agents among tear gases are 2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile , oleoresincapsicum , and chloroacetophenone . The usage types of tear gases are gas bomb and spray. The main effect of Riot Control Agents is irritation of mucosal surfaces.

Other common tear gas, OC, may also cause sore throat, cough, wheezing, shortness in breath, laryngospasm, and rarely respiratory arrest . Steffee et al. investigated custody-deaths related to pepper spray. In that report, the victim was an asthmatic who had been sprayed 10 to 15 times with pepper spray. Postmortem examination revealed severe epithelial lung damage, and the cause of death was severe acute bronchospasm, probably precipitated by the use of pepper spray.

2. Materials and Methods

An ethical approvement was obtained from Ethical Committee of Istanbul University.

3. Results

Exposed subjects
Exposed subjects
% predicted

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Asthma Symptoms Acute Vs Chronic

In medical related matters, acute simply means short term, and chronic means long term. Although asthma is a chronic disorder, since it usually lasts a long time , you can have both chronic and acute asthma symptoms. If someone does not properly manage their asthma, they can have regular chronic symptoms for many weeks, months, or even years. For example, they could experience a regular cough that lasts a long time if not managed properly.

Then on top of the regular chronic cough, they may also sometimes experience an acute asthma worsening that leads to a symptom such as shortness of breath. This could perhaps be due to getting a cold, or exposure to pollen or air pollution.

When someone has asthma, it is very important to keep it well controlled so that there are no chronic asthma symptoms. You cant avoid all asthma symptoms all the time, but in general the symptoms should be uncommon and mild.

It is also very important to monitor your asthma so that you notice when there are acute asthma symptoms starting and can take the necessary measures to get it under control before it leads to an asthma attack. A written asthma action plan from your doctor can be very helpful in guiding your treatment decisions.

For more information please;Call us at;;Monday to Friday between 8:30am-4:30pm or email us your question anytime at;

  • Medical history
  • Test results, such as a lung function test

Under What Circumstances Is It Ok To Use A Pepper Spray

Mace Pepper Spray Gun Review: Effects of Pepper Spray

Its okay to use an OC spray in self-defense scenarios or during an arrest.

But since you most likely you wont be arresting anyone, your safest bet is to use it to protect yourself from harm.

Using a pepper spray on someone without a reason might be treated as an assault and you might face legal consequences!

After all, these non-lethal weapons were designed to incapacitate i.e. temporarily disable an attacker.

Youre not supposed to spray people just because someone said a bad word.

There has to be a good reason to use it.

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How To Prepare Yourself For A Protest

Johnson-Arbor urged;protesters to be prepared if they anticipate authorities to disperse tear gas or use pepper spray.;

They should dress in long sleeves and pants so the agents can’t come in contact with skin. They should not wear contact lenses to protests, because;tear gas or pepper spray;particles can get stuck between the eye and lens and cause damage.;

She suggested protesters wear some protective gear such as goggles. While many protesters are seen with cloth masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus, Johnson-Arbor said they won’t do much against tear gas or pepper spray.;

While they provide some protection, cloth masks have varying degrees of filtration, aren’t tight-fitting;and not medical grade. There are no studies of how pepper spray or tear gas penetrates cloth masks, and most masks are open on either side.;

“Overall, the masks may provide some protection but it won’t be enough to avoid exposure overall,” Johnson-Arbor said.;

Lastly, she advised;people to arm themselves with enough water;to thoroughly irrigate their eyes if exposed to pepper spray or tear gas.;

Skin Burns And Dermatitis

Physicians examining CSexposed patients often report skin burns, especially when large quantities are used, as in a case involving a riot at a Vietnamese refugee detention center in Hong Kong., Multiple cases of unusually severe skin reactions in response to CS exposure have been reported, including severe facial erythema and swelling that obscured vision. Physicians from the Department of Dermatology at San Francisco General Hospital observed severe CSinduced erythematous dermatitis of the face, neck, and hands. Cases of allergic contact sensitization were reported with erythematous patches and multiple vesicular eruptions on the skin following heavy exposure to CS. Ninety percent of workers in a plant manufacturing a CS agent reported a history of dermatitis on the arms and neck, with 7% showing positive patchtest reactions to CS, suggesting that CS may act as a contact sensitizer.

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How Many Times Can You Use A Pepper Spray

Depends on the particular brand, but as a general rule of thumb, your average pepper spray canister has about 20 shots on average.

Anyhow, some may have 16 to 18, while others over 30 shots.

It all boils down to the specific spray that youve bought.

And if youve had yours for a while and used it a few times but youre unsure how many shots you have left, theres an easy way to get an estimation.

Simply shake the canister a few times.

If it feels too light and theres no sound of the liquid inside moving around as you shake the canister, then its probably almost empty.

How Can You Protect Yourself


Youre already wearing a mask to protect yourself and others from the novel coronavirus, and that may be helpful. Wearing a face mask may help reduce oral exposure , but obviously wont do anything to protect your eyes if you are exposed to pepper spray, says Dr. Glatter.

The fine mist from pepper spray poses a risk to unprotected eyes, says Dr. Glatter, who recommends taking along a pair of goggleslike ski or swim goggleswith a tight seal. Standard eyeglasses or sunglasses are not enough to ensure adequate eye protection in this scenario, he says. Just be sure the goggles dont make you feel more disoriented than you already will be if youre coughing and feeling burning sensations.

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What Is The Best Pepper Spray Treatment

Tearless baby shampoo or alternatively soap.

But no tears baby shampoo is still your best bet if you got pepper-sprayed.


Because this shampoo is capable of removing the oil from the spray.

Water is definitely NOT a great treatment option. The oily liquid that the pepper spray is made of is far from soluble in water!

But unless you always carry a baby shampoo with you, you have to keep several things in mind.

Heres what to do if you get pepper-sprayed in your face, whether by accident or not:

  • Dont touch your eyes
  • Start blinking rapidly so that your eyes produce more tears
  • Find a tearless baby shampoo, soap or water as a last resort
  • Do your best to rinse the pepper spray oils away
  • Still, no matter what you do if you get sprayed youll feel a good amount of pain.

    My advice is to just stay away from trouble so that no one has a reason to use pepper spray on you.

    Immediate Signs And Symptoms Of Exposure To A Riot Control Agent

    People exposed to riot control agents may experience some or all of the following symptoms immediately after exposure:

    • Eyes: excessive tearing, burning, blurred vision, redness
    • Nose: runny nose, burning, swelling
    • Mouth: burning, irritation, difficulty swallowing, drooling
    • Lungs: chest tightness, coughing, choking sensation, noisy breathing , shortness of breath
    • Skin: burns, rash
    • Other: nausea and vomiting

    Long-lasting exposure or exposure to a large dose of riot control agent, especially in a closed setting, may cause severe effects such as the following:

    • Blindness
    • Glaucoma
    • Immediate death due to severe chemical burns to the throat and lungs
    • Respiratory failure possibly resulting in death

    Showing these signs and symptoms does not necessarily mean that a person has been exposed to riot control agents.

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    Help Us Continue Reporting On Covid

    Note: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing or bluish lips, get medical attention immediately. The CDC has more information on what to do if you are sick.

    The Philadelphia protest was one of many instances in recent days in which police launched tear gas a toxic substance that can cause lung damage into crowds. In a statement, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said that officers had no choice but to release it after protesters threw rocks at them and refused to disperse, and that officers also used nonchemical white smoke to minimize the amount of the irritant while maintaining a deterrent visual effect. She called it a means to safely a volatile and dangerous situation.

    But tear gas is not safe, according to a number of experts interviewed by ProPublica. It has been found to cause long-term health consequences and can hurt those who arent the intended targets, including people inside their homes.

    This would be enough of a problem in normal times, but now, experts say, the widespread, sometimes indiscriminate use of tear gas on American civilians in the midst of a respiratory pandemic threatens to worsen the coronavirus, along with racial disparities in its spread and who dies from it.

    Milk Isnt Sterile So Rinsing Your Eyes With It Could Lead To An Infection

    How tear gas and pepper spray affect the body, and what to ...

    Pepper spray, or mace, is slightly different from tear gas. It employs the exact same active chemical as whats found in cayenne peppers, and since it is an oil, even small concentrations of it can penetrate the skin and enter mucous membranes, causing severe and prolonged discomfort, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

    Thats why some protesters carry around bottles of antacid mixed in milk, hoping to neutralise these acidic chemicals.

    That comes from folks who cook with very hot peppers, Mell said, who very often keep milk on hand to neutralise the peppers.

    While experts dont think the creamy mixture is necessarily harmful, and that it might even help a little in the case of pepper spray, it wont do much for a tear gas attack. It also may not be a good idea to rinse your eyes out with milk because its not sterile and could prompt an infection.

    Instead, just keep dousing your eyes. Winslow even suggested grabbing a nearby garden hose.

    Unfortunately, there really isnt an easier way to do it, Mell said.

    There is not much you can do to stop the burning, either. Instead, allow the tears to happen, or even blink rapidly to flush the eyes out, the doctor said.

    Do not rub your eyes, do not, he said. Let your eyes tear up, let your eyes wash themselves, as best you can. And then as soon as possible, wash with copious amounts of water.

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    How Often Should You Take Peak Flow Measurements

    Peak flow readings can be taken on a regular basis or only at certain times. Regular monitoring may be useful when you are first diagnosed with asthma to determine your normal peak flow rates. Regular monitoring is also important when your asthma is unstable, or for those who do not notice symptoms when their asthma starts getting out of control. If your peak flow rate has dropped below your normal, you can act quickly to get control before it becomes serious.

    Triggers are the things that can cause your asthma symptoms. Each person has their own set of asthma triggers. Over time you can figure out what your asthma triggers are and take steps to reduce your exposure.

    There are two types of asthma triggers:

    • Allergens
    • Irritants

    Here are some tips that can help you stay active:

    • Do not start exercising if you have any asthma symptoms
    • Warm up by starting at a slower paceincrease the pace slowly
    • If you need to take a reliever inhaler before exercising, it should be taken about 10-15 minutes before the activity
    • If you develop asthma symptoms while exercising, stop immediatelyuse your reliever inhaler and do not start again unless your symptoms are completely gone.
    • Consider exercising indoors when outdoor conditions may trigger your asthma
    • When exercising in cold weather, cover your nose and mouth with a scarf or cold weather mask
    • If symptoms continue, your asthma may not be under controlwork with your health-care provider to improve your asthma management

    Diagnosing Asthma In A Young Child Can Be More Challenging Because:

    • Children under six years of age are not generally able to do a lung function test
    • Symptoms such as cough and wheeze are fairly common in very young children who do not have asthma

    However, a diagnosis of asthma can be made in a young child. Your health-care provider will assess:

    • What symptoms does the child have?
    • When do the symptoms occur ?
    • Is there a history of allergies or asthma in the family?
    • Does the child have any signs of allergies
    • Do the symptoms improve when taking asthma medications?

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    Medications are usually needed for asthma, even if its mild asthma. New asthma medications are continually being discovered and there are several effective asthma drugs in the market that help get asthma under control.

    There are two types of asthma medications: controllers and relievers.

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    Effects Of Pepper Spray

    While in theory, there are no long-lasting effects to pepper spray, those who’ve experienced the extreme inflammatory effects and burning sensation, would beg to differ.;

    MY EXPERIENCE: I personally have been sprayed with pepper spray in a training exercise, so I know exactly how it feels. This was not a tiny stream of spray that grazed my eye. It was a full blast pepper fogger spray that hit me square in the face from only a couple feet away. Having been in 1994, when pepper spray was relatively new to the market, you would think that it would not have been that bad. If you have ever bit into a really hot pepper, say a cayenne pepper, then you might know what hot is. Or if you ate the whole pepper even. Now lets grind up a whole sack full of cayenne peppers and put the juices into a spray bottle that has a propellant. Now imagine this stuff hitting you right in the eyes, mouth and nose. It not only burns these mucous membranes, but it feels as if your skin is on fire. Pepper spray is the real deal, and yet a non-lethal solution to protecting yourself.

    So, that is my take. Let me give you the broad overview from today’s research of pepper spray.REPORTS INDICATE: Pepper spray, also known as OC spray and capsicum spray is a chemical that aggravates the protective layer of the eyes causing immediate tearing, pain, and in extreme cases temporary blindness.; Pepper spray can be used by individuals for safety, law enforcement for crowd control.


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