Health hazard: Effect of irritant gas should not be underestimated

Health hazard: Effect of irritant gas should not be underestimated

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Serious irritation of the mucous membrane: Do not underestimate the effects of irritant gas

The effect of irritant gas such as pepper spray, CS or tear gas should not be underestimated. Health experts warn of severe irritation of the mucous membrane. The complaints can sometimes last for weeks. In extreme cases, such sprays can have life-threatening consequences.

Serious health consequences

Irritation gas, such as pepper spray, CS or tear gas, is used by the police in demonstrations in Germany, among others. Some people also acquire such funds privately for self-defense. Even minors find it easy to get such sprays. Health experts are again warning of the sometimes serious health problems that can be caused by irritant gas.

Use only in an emergency

With irritant gas, one should be able to ward off intrusive persons in self-defense situations. The sprays are actually subject to the Weapons Act, but they are often declared differently and are freely available for sale.

As the University Medical Center Freiburg writes in a message, pepper sprays in Germany are only approved against animals due to their very strong effects.

They should only be used in an emergency - never misused and reckless, because the gas can cause severe irritation to the mucous membrane.

Irritant gas can become life-threatening

"Pepper spray can cause contact irritation in the eyes or respiratory tract," explains Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Busch, Medical Director of Medicine at the University Emergency Center (UNZ) at the University Hospital Freiburg.

According to other experts, inhalation of the irritant usually causes coughing and shortness of breath.

There is often an uncomfortable itching sensation on the skin.

The symptoms usually appear immediately or a few seconds after spraying the irritant gas.

In the worst case, such sprays can even trigger an asthma attack and become life-threatening, according to the experts at the Freiburg University Hospital.

Affected people should always see a doctor as soon as possible.

Start cleaning immediately

In order to neutralize the irritants and relieve the sometimes severe pain, it is important to start cleaning the affected areas immediately.

"Irritation can also occur on the skin," said Prof. Busch. "In the university emergency center, we try to clean the affected areas including the eyes with running, lukewarm water," explains the doctor.

"When the respiratory tract is affected, patients are supplied with inhalations of oxygen and substances that expand the bronchi."

Do not further irritate affected areas by rubbing

"Anyone who has got pepper spray in their eyes must wash them out immediately with plenty of clear water," warns Prof. Thomas Reinhard, Medical Director of the Ophthalmology Clinic at the University Medical Center Freiburg.

"The substances contained in the spray attack the cornea and conjunctiva and can lead to inflammation that lasts for weeks."

In the clinic for ophthalmology, special liquids are used to rinse the surface of the eye.

"In the case of severe burns, cortisone injections under the conjunctiva and amnion shells made from human egg skin are used to achieve rapid surface regeneration," said Prof. Reinhard.

“In particular, tear production can be affected by irritation with pepper spray. In the long term, this can be very problematic for the affected patients. "

Both experts recommend that those affected do not under any circumstances further irritate the areas that come into contact with irritant gas, for example by rubbing. (ad)

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