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That's how tear gas affects your body



The US government came under fire after reports surfaced that US border guards leaked tear gas to a group of migrants – including children – who stormed the US-Mexico border on Sunday, Over 500 migrants on the Mexican side of the border reportedly used police blockades near the San Ysidro Port of Entry, which resulted in border guards reacting with tear gas, CNN . Videos taken by journalists at the scene capture adults and barefoot children in diapers running and screaming after being exposed to the chemical weapon.

US Customs and Border Patrol tweeted on Sunday that agents have used tear gas. "Several migrants threw the agents in San Diego with projectiles and told them to stop the group because of the danger to evict the security of the agents. " The Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 prohibited the international use of chemical weapons – including tear gas – in warfare. However, in some countries, including the US, it is still used to combat riots .

Although the physical effects of tear gas are temporary in many cases, the chemical irritant attack causes short-term problems and can be destabilizing in many ways, both physically and emotionally. This is one of the ways in which this weapon can stress the body.

Tear gases are chemical compounds that irritate the eyes, skin, lungs, and more, and in turn disable humans, as explained by ] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Tear gases are considered tear substances, that is, they cause a tear effect of the eyes and often other unpleasant symptoms. The most common types are Agent CS (chlorobenzylidene monalonitrile) and Agent CN (Chloroacetophenone), although there are other compounds that are considered tear gas. Commonly used with tear gas: Agent OC (Oleoresin Capsicum) or pepper spray or its synthetic form, known as PAVA spray, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Agent OC and PAVA work on pain and temperature receptors in Your body, to trigger a pain response, explains ACLU. Even small amounts can penetrate the skin and invade the mucous membranes, which can lead to severe and prolonged pain lasting half an hour. Tear gas chemical compounds such as OC dissolve and become a painful acidic fluid when exposed to water, sweat, or oil on a person's skin or mucous membranes, says the ACLU. The moisture in the airways and mucous membranes makes these areas particularly sensitive to these substances.

Exposure to tear gas temporarily causes uncomfortable pain and side effects.

"The known effects of tear gas are not great for your health, and then there are side effects and unintended consequences, which are not great either," says Dr. Rohini J. Haar, MPH, medical research and research advisor to Physicians for Human Rights and guest professor, UC Berkeley School of Public Health SELF.

In general, tear gas causes a stinging and burning sensation in the eyes and mucous membranes of a person (including those in the lungs), salivation, watery eyes, runny nose, tight chest, headache and nausea, ] World Health Organization (WHO) says.

"Your skin feels like it's on fire and if you breathe it in (which you can not do otherwise because it's a gas), it can cause respiratory injury to your lungs," Dr. Hair. "All symptoms are temporary, about 20 to 30 minutes. But if you can not leave the tear gas, there is too much of it, or you are more prone to many more problems.

Other health problems in which tear gas exposure can lead to chronic skin reactions and skin burns, a corneal abrasion (a painful scratch on the transparent anterior part of the eye) and prolonged or permanent lung damage like one Airway inflammation – and these side effects may take weeks or longer to improve. If a person suffers from a pre-existing medical condition such as asthma it is also more susceptible to respiratory distress or hypoxia. This is a condition where people do not get enough oxygen into their body, Dr. Hair. Sometimes the canisters themselves can cause injury. "We saw skull and bone fractures after people were hit by them," she adds.

In general, children are more prone to these effects, Dr. Hair.

"Your skin is more fragile and more sensitive, and it's easier to penetrate than an adult's," she explains.Children may also be more in pain than adults and may be exposed to tear gas longer than older people because they do not know how to react, and not looking for them so quickly. "Children do not know if they should close their eyes tight, and keep them open. They also shut up because they are screaming for their mothers and raising their attention, "notes Dr. Haar," not to mention the psychological effects of violent traumas at such a young age. "

The longer-term effects Researching the long-term effects of chemical irritants is a complicated task as researchers must identify and track those affected for many years Many existing toxicology studies on tear gas are small and study variables vary (they can affect the effects of tear gas) with different amounts of the active chemical or specific to a military workforce z example that could affect the results.)

Even though you may not have been directly affected by the tragic events at the border on Sunday , you could tear gas or Pepper spray may be exposed if you want to participate in such an event protests or events where crowd control can be a problem.

Unfortunately, at the moment you can only do so much to protect yourself or a loved one – but the symptoms should go by relatively quickly. If you are in a situation where you and / or others need to protect yourself from counterinsurgency agents, the most important thing you can do to get out of the gas, Dr. med. J. David Gatz, Emergency Medicine at Mercy Medical Center, tells SELF. The gas is also heavier than air and falls closer to the ground, so you want to get into a higher zone as fast as possible, he says.

If you are far enough away, it is important that you get it exposed to fresh air and rinse your eyes, skin and hair with plenty of water. "At first, water can worsen the water, but it's rinsed off with plenty of water," says Dr. Hair. And if you have access to soap, wash yourself with it. When soap is combined with water, the tear gas can be removed quite well, says dr. Gatz. Tear gas is also attached to your garments, so you should come out and change clothes as quickly as possible.

If you still have symptoms after 20 to 30 minutes, you have eye or lung problems, or you are concerned in any way after you have been exposed to tear gas, you will be taken to the emergency room. "It's definitely something that we see occasionally," says Dr. Gatz. "In general, it's mostly irritating and the symptoms should go away over time, but if you have concerns, do not hesitate to go to the ER."

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