What to Do If You’re Exposed to Pepper Spray

Picture this: You’re in the thick of a protest, or perhaps you accidentally hit the trigger of a forgotten canister in your purse. Suddenly, your world is awash in blinding pain and your lungs feel like they’re on fire. What do you do if you’re exposed to pepper spray?

First Things First: Don’t Panic

Even though the burning sensation might make you feel like you’re in serious danger, it’s important to remember that the effects of pepper spray are temporary. It’s a non-lethal weapon designed to incapacitate, not harm, so you’re not going to die. That said, the pain can be intense, so it’s natural to panic, but try your best to stay calm. This will help you think clearly about your next steps.

Immediate Aftercare: Rinse and Breathe

After exposure to pepper spray, your first priority should be to rinse your eyes. A solution of half liquid antacid and half water, commonly known as LAW, can help neutralize the burn. If you don’t have access to LAW, use water. Rinse your eyes for 15 to 20 minutes. It’s also important to remember to breathe – take slow, deep breaths through your nose and out through your mouth to help counteract the effects of the spray.

Post Exposure: Rest and Recover

Once you’ve flushed the spray out of your eyes and taken a few deep breaths, find a quiet place to rest. The effects of pepper spray typically last around 45 minutes, so give your body time to recover. If symptoms persist beyond this, seek medical help.

Pepper spray is a powerful tool, but it’s not unbeatable. By staying calm and knowing what to do, you can manage its effects and recover more quickly.

READ: How to Get Pepper Spray Off Skin: Quick & Effective

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