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Pepper Spray Decontamination

Pepper Spray Decontamination

We live in a dangerous world and sometimes it's necessary to protect ourselves in an adversarial situation, pepper spray could prove the very assistance needed, helping avoid a dangerous situation.  However, the reverse is also true if we become the recipient of pepper spray, either accidentally or on purpose.  If this should happen, you'll want to take immediate action to remedy an uncomfortable situation.

WHY WOULD YOU WANT A DECONTAMINANT?  Pepper spray (also known as OC spray-Oleoresin Capsicum), is designed to be inflammatory, causing irritation to the skin, eyes, and in some cases can induce temporary blindness.  Unlike tear gas, which wears off fairly quickly, pepper spray will continue to be discomforting, (depending on skin type) for upwards of 45 minutes to an hour.  The inflammatory agent in pepper spray is derived from hot cayenne peppers.

PEPPER SPRAY FACT:  No lasting damage happens when someone receives a dose of pepper spray and symptoms usually begin to remedy themselves in about 15 minutes to 45 minutes.

While there is no antidote that is100% effective, there are multiple ways to minimize the effects...

HOMEMADE REMEDIES: One method that has proven effective is a combination of milk, honey, a mild detergent (Dawn and been recommended) and a small amount of baking soda.  This is normally mixed together then applied as a salve to the affected area.  Normally more than one application is necessary and the affected area should gently be washed between applications.

Similar to the above is a mixture of cornmeal, milk and honey, again not an immediate fix, but certain to act as an aid to lessen the burning sensation.

Water can be used to soothe the affected area, however since pepper spray is oil based and designed to stick to the skin, water by itself will not offer much comfort unless utilized continuously for approximately 30 minutes or more.

WATER AND PEPPER SPRAY: If water is what you have available, it's recommended it be mixed with a mild detergent, then gently applied, rinsed and reapplied until the pain begins to diminish.

THE IMMERSION METHOD:  While it's unlikely you'll have a bowl deep enough for the task, if you do immerse the infected area completely for about 10 to 15 seconds at a time.  This will allow the detergent to begin breaking down the oils in the pepper spray.

IMPORTANT NOTE: While the natural reaction to being sprayed in the face is to reach quickly to your face, attempting to rid yourself of the pain, try to avoid doing this, as this will further inflame the affected area.

WARNING: If you are sprayed in the eyes and are someone who wears contacts, remove them as soon as possible, then flush the eyes repeatedly with eye wash or saline.

COOLING BREEZES: A fan or cooling breeze, while not a cure for pepper spray, can help soothe the skin while the effect of the spray diminishes.

DECONTAMINATION SPRAYS: There are also decontamination sprays, manufactured for the express purpose of serving to decontaminate someone who is received a dose of pepper spray.  These sprays are herbal in nature, sprayed directly onto the affected areas, then lightly blotted into the skin. These products have only become available in the last few years and offer a compact, easy to carry antidote that is ready to spray.

If you're someone who carries pepper spray for potential defensive purposes, it would be wise to carry a decontamination spray in case the spray is used accidentally, or the wind causes some to come in contact with your own skin.


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.

Copyright © protected 2008. All rights reserved. Reprint permission granted by the Author as long as this entire footer remains with the article, and the article is not modified in any way.

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