Can Pepper Spray Kill You?

Can pepper spray kill you? Pepper spray is a self-defense weapon used by people in situations where they might be in danger from either humans or animals. Though the use of pepper spray is controversial, it’s legal in several states.

Pepper spray has quite a number of physical effects since it contains an inflammatory agent called capsaicin. This agent causes burning, tears, and pain in the eyes. This gives you a chance to escape or find help before your assailant or the animal recovers from the effects. Recovery normally takes about 30 minutes. However, this varies depending on the intensity of the pepper spray.

Although pepper spray has a significant effect and you’re probably wondering can pepper spray kill you, the effects are temporary. They therefore, cannot lead to death.

What Is Pepper Spray?

Danger is unpredictable. You might be casually walking around your neighborhood or coming from home when an aggressive animal or a person attacks you. Taking precaution against such instances is paramount and what better way than getting yourself a can of pepper spray.

Pepper spray is a lacrimator. This means it stimulates the eyes to produce tears. The main component of pepper spray is oleoresin capsicum, an oil derived from chili peppers. Pepper spray contains a high concentration of capsaicin than chili peppers hence the effect is more severe.

Originally, the purpose of pepper spray was to protect yourself against bear attacks. However, over the years, it’s become more popular for use against attackers and animals such as dogs.

Pepper Spray Side Effects

What are pepper spray effects and can pepper spray kill you? The purpose of using pepper spray on an attacker or an animal is to physically impair them and create a chance for you to escape and find a safe place or seek help. Pepper spray has several effects and if you’re wondering what are the pepper spray side effects they include;

  • Temporary blindness
  • Shortness of breath
  • A dry cough or wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • A runny nose
  • Burning in the throat
  • Rashes or burns on the skin

Some common questions most people ask concerning the effects of pepper spray include,

Does Pepper Spray Damage the Eyes?

There are a couple of pepper spray side effects eyes. The main component in pepper spray has a direct effect on the eyes. Your eyes will immediately begin to burn and tear up. You will also experience redness and temporary blindness. There is no evidence that suggests that pepper spray can cause permanent damage to your eyes. However, pepper spray eye damage can be as a result of repeated exposure. Therefore, the answer to the question does pepper spray damage eyes is yes. The effects are however, temporary.

Can Pepper Spray Burn Your Skin?

Does pepper spray burn the skin? The severity of the effects of pepper spray mainly depends on the amount of pepper spray used. If directly sprayed onto a person or an animal’s face, they immediately begin to feel a burning sensation on their skin. Capsaicin, the main component in pepper spray has a heat effect that will cause a burning sensation on your skin as well as lead to redness and a sore feeling. Pepper spray on lips also causes a burning feeling that when left untreated, lasts from 45 to 60 minutes. In severe cases, pepper spray can also cause skin blisters.

Why Does Pepper Spray Make You Cough?

One of the pepper spray harmful effects is a burning throat followed by a cough or wheezing. This is because pepper spray temporarily impairs your ability to breathe normally. These effects my be more severe for people with conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (OCPD). It’s essential to avoid combining pepper spray and health problems.

Does Pepper Spray Make Your Nose Bleed?

In case you’re wondering what happens when you are pepper sprayed, you will feel a burning sensation in your nose. You may also find it difficult to breathe and your nose becomes runny. However, the pepper spray cause and effect does not necessarily make your nose bleed. After a while, your nose will go back to normal.

How Long Does Pepper Spray Effects Last?

While pepper spray is dangerous and there are several things that pepper spray can do to you, these effects are self-limiting and usually go away after about 30 minutes. The severity of the effects depends on the amount of pepper spray used.

Complications are uncommon unless the exposure was serious. Extreme exposure can lead to respiratory tract injuries, skin abrasions, and eye cornea damage.

Is Pepper Spray Harmful?

It’s not unusual for a person to question pepper spray is it harmful or is pepper spray harmless? Pepper spray is a non-lethal self-defense weapon used against attackers, animals, or civilians running from the police. Its inflammatory agents cause burning of the eyes, nose, and throat, wheezing and shortness of breath, as well as temporary blindness.

While these effects may be quite painful, they only last long enough for you to either hide, seek help, or escape. The intensity of pepper spray effects largely depends on how much of the components was used. There can be severe damage to people especially with health problems such as asthma. However, in moderation, pepper spray is only temporarily harmful. Pepper spray inhalation alone has no record of being the main cause of death to any victims so if you’re wondering whether pepper spray can kill you, it can’t.

can pepper spray kill you

Can Pepper Spray Kill You?

Pepper spray is one of the most controversial self-defense weapons. A majority of people question whether it’s safe to use, can pepper spray kill you, and what are the effects that it has on the sprayed person or animal. Pepper spray is non-lethal, therefore, cannot kill you. However, it has some effects that can cause severe discomfort.

Pepper spray should be used in moderation as extreme exposure can lead to severe damage especially to people with underlying health conditions. It’s essential to learn how pepper spray works and how to use it before purchasing it.


Written by: Georgina Njoki
Freelance Copywriter and Travel Enthusiast.



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