How to Relieve the Burning from Pepper Spray
If you are asking the question, "How to relieve the burning from pepper spray?", chances are you've done something wrong to deserve being sprayed. However, there are plenty of cases every day where someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time or, even worse (actually, more embarrassing), have accidentally sprayed themselves while handling pepper spray.
This article will provide some background on what pepper spray is, what effects it has and why, and the best way to relieve the burning from pepper spray.
What is Pepper Spray?
Oleoresin capsicum - with a main ingredient, capsaicin, is a derivative of cayenne pepper - is more commonly known as pepper spray. It is used in bear and dog repellents, personal defense sprays, and by most law enforcement agencies. It's the same chemical that makes chili peppers hot, but in a more concentrated and intense form.
To give you an idea of pepper spray's potency, the Scoville scale (using Scoville heat units, SHUs) scores the "heat" of peppers. Using the Scoville scale:
- Standard bell pepper = 0 SHU
- Jalapeno pepper = 2,500 - 5,000 SHU
- Law enforcement pepper spray = 500,000 - 2,000,000 SHU
Effects of Pepper Spray?
Pepper spray is so effective in its many uses because it impacts animals and people in several ways - eyes, skin, nose, and mouth. The capsaicin in the spray is believed to cause neurogenic inflammation in peripheral sensory nerves. As you can see, the effects involve extreme discomfort with the common impact being a burning sensation.
Eyes - burning, stinging, redness, and temporary blindness.
Skin - burning pain, redness, and sometimes blistering.
Nose, breathing - burning sensation in nose and throat, uncontrollable sneezing, coughing (people with asthma may experience stronger symptoms).
Mouth, ingesting - burning/stinging feeling in mouth, often followed by nausea and vomiting.
When asked to describe how exposure to pepper spray feels, in addition to the burning sensations, many people mention:
- shortness of breath
- difficulty breathing
- rashes, blisters, and burns on their skin
Plain and simple, being exposed to pepper spray is the most miserable experience many people experience in their life.
How to Relieve the Burning from Pepper Spray?
The most commonly used remedy proposed for pepper spray exposure is to flush your eyes for a minimum of 20 minutes with a generous amount of fresh, cool water.
Other remedies frequently mentioned for removing pepper spray are milk, antihistamines, baby shampoo, and antacids. However, none of them were found to be any more effective than water alone in a 2008 study. Generally, the effects of pepper spray will subside within 20 - 30 minutes.
A more effective remedy (direct from customer testimonials) to relieve the burning from pepper spray in the eyes, skin, nose, and mouth is 911 Relief first aid spray. 911 Relief is made from all natural ingredients, so it is safe to use on skin and around your eyes, nose, and mouth. The active ingredients in 911 Relief work by restoring your body's normal pH balance - reducing the inflammation, swelling, and pain triggered by the capsaicin in pepper spray.
If you find yourself suffering from the effects of pepper spray:
- Move to an area with fresh air, if possible.
- Immediately flush the effected areas, especially eyes, with fresh, cool water.
- Spray 911 Relief liberally on effected areas (avoid spraying 911 Relief directly into your eyes).
- Continue spraying 911 Relief on effected areas until pain and inflammation subside (approximately 5 - 10 minutes).
- Remove any clothing that may have been sprayed.
- Avoid rubbing the effected areas as the oils in pepper spray can easily be spread to other areas of your body.