First and foremost: pepper spray will drop your attacker, but it takes a few seconds to really take effect, so don’t panic and just keep spraying!!! It is designed to be a non-lethal self defense product. It is designed to create a window of opportunity and allow you to escape a potentially deadly situation. Most pepper sprays also contain a UV dye which will no wash off and provide police an easy target to catch.
Here are the physiological effects that pepper spray has:
You attacker will experience immediate inflammation. The throat will restrict and the temporary paralysis of the larynx will close up, restricting air flow enough to debilitate your attacker and allow you to escape. Extreme coughing and gasping for breath and nausea. Your attacker’s respiratory functions will return to normal within 20-60 minutes.
Effects on the Skin:
Any pepper spray product that hits the skin will inflame it severely. The typical reaction to the skin is extreme inflammation and a sensation of extreme burning followed by extreme but painful irritation. (Think bee sting as the lasting effects but with a much wider surface area than a bee sting)
According to the Vision Eye Institute, the effect of pepper spray on the eyes will be immediate, triggering uncontrollable tearing, involuntary closing of the eyelids, redness, swelling, stinging and temporary blindness. The epithelial layer of the cornea is disrupted by pepper spray, so people with impaired corneal integrity (diabetes, dry eye or recurrent corneal erosion) are particularly susceptible to these effects, compared to those with good eye health.
Anyone wearing contact lenses will need to remove them as soon as possible – using clean fingers, not skin that’s been in contact with pepper spray. The contact lenses should be thrown away, because they can’t be repaired.
Rubbing affected eyes will only increase the intensity of pain and should be avoided. You can try flushing eyes with a saline solution. Blinking vigorously to encourage tears will also help flush the irritant from the eyes.
Effects on the muscle coordination:
Pepper spray products have a secondary effect on muscle coordination. Your attacker may stumble, not be able to run away and experience extreme disorientation by the effects that it has on the attackers soft membranes (eyes, nose, lungs and throat). They are designed to debilitate an attacker’s immediate senses first. Often times, reports are that after the initial “blast” from a pepper spray and debilitating effects, the attacker still feels the effects that rake over his body for a long time. Remember, with a non-lethal self-defense product, your first choice is escape. The evidence of the attack will be on the assailant’s body.
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