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Effects Of Pepper Spray

Effects Of Pepper Spray

While in theory, there are no long-lasting effects to pepper spray, those who've experienced the extreme inflammatory effects and burning sensation, would beg to differ. 

MY EXPERIENCE: I personally have been sprayed with pepper spray in a training exercise, so I know exactly how it feels. This was not a tiny stream of spray that grazed my eye. It was a full blast pepper fogger spray that hit me square in the face from only a couple feet away. Having been in 1994, when pepper spray was relatively new to the market, you would think that it would not have been that bad. If you have ever bit into a really hot pepper, say a cayenne pepper, then you might know what hot is. Or if you ate the whole pepper even. Now lets grind up a whole sack full of cayenne peppers and put the juices into a spray bottle that has a propellant. Now imagine this stuff hitting you right in the eyes, mouth and nose. It not only burns these mucous membranes, but it feels as if your skin is on fire. Pepper spray is the real deal, and yet a non-lethal solution to protecting yourself.

So, that is my take. Let me give you the broad overview from today's research of pepper spray.

REPORTS INDICATE: Pepper spray, also known as OC spray and capsicum spray is a chemical that aggravates the protective layer of the eyes causing immediate tearing, pain, and in extreme cases temporary blindness.  Pepper spray can be used by individuals for safety, law enforcement for crowd control.

A person will find their eyes immediately closing, followed by uncontrollable tearing, coughing, possibly choking plus an extreme burning sensation on any exposed skin and mucous membranes.

RHINORRHEA: A discharge from the nasal mucous membranes will almost always be experienced by someone encountering pepper spray.

CAUTIONARY EFFECTS: The effects of pepper spray are more pronounced with the elderly or someone with existing heart or respiratory problems, if the situation allows caution should be exercised before deployment

What's happening to your eyes, and why they involuntarily close is due to the dilation of the capillaries in the eye itself.   A person will experience about 40 to 50 minutes of bloodshot eyes, tearing, and overall discomfort.  This will occur whether or not they were wearing eyeglasses, however, if contact lenses are being worn, they should be removed as soon as possible.

While pepper spray is derived from hot cayenne peppers, (the same used in cooking) a percentage of Capsaicin oil (extracted just below the stem of the hot pepper) is added causing the spray to adhere to the skin, and not easily be washed off, thus causing an immediate adverse affect, particularly on the skin and respiratory system.

The linings inside your nose and throat will immediately begin to swell making breathing difficult as air flow is reduced.  Couple this with the pain and discomfort involved and a person is effectively debilitated for about 30 minutes or so.

CAUTIONARY NOTE:  While there are no substantiated cases of anyone dying directly from pepper spray, if other health problems are present (asthma, heart irregularities, etc.) the affected person should consult a doctor or health care professional to ensure no ancillary problems are incurred.

Since pepper spray irritates the lining of the nose and throat, causing difficulty breathing, there have been reports of lightheadedness, confusion, disorientation and lack of muscle control.  While this may be a side effect, it can be more directly attributed to lack of oxygen or the stress of being sprayed.
In certain instances, the effects of pepper spray can last beyond the normal 30 to 60 minute recovery time and can cause problems in the GI tract.  Since capsaicin (cayenne pepper) is used worldwide as a spice, a person who is adversely affected by eating something seasons with cayenne pepper, may experience the same effects when dosed with pepper spray.

About The Author

Bryan Robinson, the founder of has trained with pepper spray since 1994. His website specializes in the sales of only Pepper Spray. This enables him to help his customers with questions about finding the right pepper spray for the right situations, as well as questions about training and use of pepper spray.

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