Eye care advice for a tear gas attack.
FIRST, WHAT ACTUALLY IS TEAR GAS?
The commonly known tear gas is also known as lachrymator (from the Latin lacrima meaning “tear”) which is a collection of chemicals that causes skin, respiratory, and eye irritation. It’s usually contained in canisters, grenades, or pressurized sprays, but do you know tear gas isn’t actually a gas. It’s a pressurized powder that creates a mist when deployed into the air, so when the eye comes in contact with tear gas, it results into irritation of the respiratory system, eyes, and skin and makes you experience the following:
• involuntary closing of eyelids
• temporary blindness
• blurry vision
• chemical burns
WHAT TO DO;
There is really no immediate treatment to get rid of tear gas directly from the eye, the best bet is to avoid being in contact with tear gas or to be prepared ahead by protecting the eye and other part of the body through wearing of tight eye glasses e.g. swimming glasses, or long sleeved clothes also not wearing contacts or make up to a likely place where tear gas may be released.
However, when tear gas contacts the eye, remember it is a chemical that needs to be flushed from the eyes, the best bet is to use water (a clean and cool water) or saline water to flush the eye for about 15 minutes with the head position facing downwards so that the chemical irritant won’t flush to the body parts.
Tear gas has a short term effect of about 30 minutes on the eye after which the symptoms experienced wears off gradually.
So next time, when you suspect there may be a tear gas attack at a place, don’t wear contact lens, avoid make up and wear sun glasses or glasses as tight as swimming glasses.
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