If you've ever read about tear gas in the news, you might be wondering what tear gas does to people. Tear gas works by irritating the eyes, mouth, nose, and lungs and is sometimes used for crowd control by law enforcement or for self-defense purposes. This article will explain the physical effects that tear gas has on people, and what to do if you have become a victim of tear gas.
What Tear Gas Does to People - Understanding the Effects
What is tear gas? Tear gas actually isn't a gas at all, but rather a substance that binds and reacts to moisture. According to Gizmodo, "The aerosolized crystals glom on to the wet surfaces of a person's eyes, mouth, skin, and breathing passages. The body's defense mechanisms go into overdrive, trying to flush the chemicals away with tears and mucus. The pain and panic, combined with the body's swift reaction, can incapacitate or disorient a victim."
Once tear gas is released into your immediate area, you can begin to feel symptoms in as little as 20 seconds. Common symptoms caused by tear gas include:
- Chest pain
- Skin irritation
- Difficulty breathing
- Burning sensation in the eyes and nose
- Excessive salivation
- Watery eyes and blurred vision
- Coughing, disorientation, and confusion
The effects of tear gas are usually temporary, and most people find relief from the symptoms within one or two hours.
If You Have Been Tear Gassed
Anyone who has been tear gassed is familiar with the intense pain and extreme discomfort that occurs as a result of tear gas exposure. If you have been tear gassed, the first thing to do is to quickly and calmly remove yourself from the affected area.
Once you have made it out of the tear gassed area, rinse your eyes with cool water, blow your nose, and rinse your mouth, and avoid swallowing as much as possible.
Once you have made it to a safe location away from the affected area, remove your clothing, take a cool shower, and change into clean clothes. Because it is so difficult to fully clean tear gas residue on clothing, it is best to put all of your contaminated clothing into plastic bags and dispose of them, as the tear gas left on your clothing can continue to contaminate you and those around you if left out in the open. It can take as many as 3 washes to completely rid the clothing of irritants.
If Your Home or Business Has Been Tear Gassed
Experiencing a tear gas attack in a public space is traumatic enough. Experiencing one in your own home or place of employment can be devastating. This makes answering the question, What does tear gas do to people? even more complicated.
For those who have been tear gassed in their home or business, dealing with the physical effects that tear gas has on their own bodies is only half the battle. Once their eyes are rinsed, their bodies are washed, and their clothes are changed, they are left to deal with the contamination and structural damage that tear gas has inflicted upon their property. Failing to restore the scene properly can result in inadvertent exposure to the tear gas irritants, and could potentially cause allergic reactions and skin rashes months after the tear gas incident occurred.
Aftermath uses state-of-the-art technology to safely and thoroughly clean properties that have been tear gassed. We even perform structural remediation to remove surface coverings, floors, and walls that have been damaged. Speak with a representative today for more information.