While international conventions outlaw the US from using chemical agents in warfare, we still use them on our own citizens. In response to a wave of national riots and police tear-gassing, Banner Health’s Poison and Drug Information Center recently shared a list of safety tips if the public is exposed to these riot control agents.
According to Banner, these agents refer to a category of chemicals, including tear gas and pepper spray, which can cause acute eye pain, tearing skin irritation, and respiratory tract irritation. People can be exposed to these agents by skin or eye contact as well as inhalation. Recommended safety tips if exposed include:
• Immediately remove any exposed clothing
• Rinse your face immediately; if it is in your eyes, rinse for at least 10 minutes
• Wash the agent off your skin with large amounts of soap and water
• Patients with pre-existing lung problems (e.g. asthma, COPD) are at increased risk for breathing problems
The Poison Center also advises people to continue to hydrate well throughout the day and bring water with them when protesting. With excessive heat warnings in Arizona, it puts everyone at higher risk for heat-related illness and injury.
In addition, COVID-19 is still present. Banner encourages all protesters to continue to follow CDC recommendations to protect themselves and others from this virus. Those recommendations include:
• Do not attend protests if you are ill.
• Wear a mask when you’re in public near others.
• Stay six feet away from others.
• Bring sanitizer with you so that you can wash your hands frequently.