Tear gas is a basic term because that chemicals the irritate the skin, lungs, eyes, and throat. There room immediate and also potential irreversible health effects from exposure.

Tear gas deserve to cause much more severe symptom in people with underlying health and wellness conditions.

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Most world recover easily from tear gas effects. However, they should still seek medical advice if they come into contact with these substances.

Share on PinterestTear gas may cause watering, burning, and redness the the eyes.Image credit: KATHRYN ELSESSER/AFP via Getty Images
Despite the name, tear gas is not a gas. It consists of solid or fluid chemicals, usually within a spray or powder. This substances react v moisture to reason pain and also irritation. This is why it largely affects moist locations of the body, such as the eyes, mouth, throat, and lungs.

Tear gas might consist of countless different chemicals. These include:

chloroacetophenone (CN)chlorobenzylidenemalononitrile (CS)chloropicrin (PS)bromobenzylcyanide (CA)dibenzoxazepine (CR)combinations of various chemicals

Other name for species of tear gas incorporate mace, pepper spray, capsicum spray, and also riot manage agents. The stamin of tear gas varies. Exposure to a much more concentrated variation or prolonged exposure deserve to worsen symptoms.

Tear gas to be initially occurred as a chemistry weapon for military use. These chemical tools are now banned in warfare. However, castle are commonly used through police or army personnel to break up crowds, or at protests to stop the activity of people.

There room strict guidelines because that tear gas use in public. These incorporate firing tear gas from a distance, only using it outdoors, and also using the lowest possible strength chemistry mix.

Short-term effects

The immediate effects of tear gas ~ above the eye include:

blurred visionburning and also irritation in the mouth and noseskin irritation

A human being may also feel a tight sensation in the chest, or feeling they room choking.

Tear gas results should go away in 15–20 minutes.

As well as tear gas exposure on the body, the canisters provided to fire these substances can additionally cause injury. They deserve to be hot and also may cause burns. Canister results may also result in damage to the face, eyes, or head.

If a person leaves the area whereby tear gas is present, and also their symptoms walk away shortly afterward, their threat of permanent injury is low. However, scientists still do not recognize enough around the lingering results of tear gas on the body.

Exposure to tear gas indoors, or in big amounts, may have serious health effects. These include:


A 2017 research of data collected over 25 year looked at tear gas impacts on the body. The chemicals and also canisters offered to relax them have caused significant injuries, long-term disability, and also death.

There were two tape-recorded fatalities out of 5,910 world in this study. In the first, the relax of tear gas in a person’s residence caused fatality by respiratory tract failure. The 2nd death associated a tear gas canister affect that led to a fatal head injury.

In this study, 58 world reported a permanent disability after tear gas exposure. This disabilities included:

respiratory problemsmental wellness effectsblindnessloss of the use of limbslimb amputationskin conditions

People with respiratory problems have a greater risk of severe symptoms after tear gas exposure. These problems include asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. There is additionally a hazard that the could cause someone to prevent breathing.

The threat of injury native tear gas is higher indoors than outside. Tear gas the becomes trapped inside can increase a person’s exposure to this chemicals.

Firing lot of tear gas canisters deserve to increase the concentration that tear gas in the air. This might cause an ext severe symptoms.

Firstly, human being need to get away native the tear gas. They should leave the building if they space indoors, gain fresh air, and try to find higher ground to stay above the chemicals. If there is tear gas outdoors, human being should remain inside a building with the windows and doors shut.

They should also cover their mouth and nose with a clean fabric or the inside of a jacket. A dust mask and also goggles may offer some protection from tear gas.

A person should remove contaminated clothing as quickly as possible, there is no pulling that over their head. They have the right to seal these garments in a plastic bag and arrange for expert disposal.

People should wash your face and body with mild soap and water to eliminate the chemicals. They deserve to use a the majority of water to dilute the tear gas substances quickly. Lock should additionally wash glasses or jewelry before they wear lock again.

People who endure chemical burns have to seek clinical attention. The conventional treatment is to rinse every traces that the chemical off the skin, cool through water, and also apply a dressing.

If people have burn or watering eyes, they deserve to rinse them for 10–15 minutes v clean water. They should also remove call lenses. The aim is to remove all traces of chemicals to prevent further eye damage.

A human being who has actually breathing troubles after tear gas exposure may need oxygen. Asthma medication have the right to widen the prayer and aid someone breathe.

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No proof shows that residence remedies, such together soaking a cloth in apologize cider vinegar or sniffing an onion, are effective.