If you get pepper spray, or if it gets into your eyes somehow, you'll have a hard time getting it off. Pepper spray causes an intense burning sensation in the eyes, causing the lids to close. Pepper spray can cause inflammation of the skin and shortness of breath, which is especially dangerous for people with asthma. There are different ways to get pepper spray out of your eye, but don't expect the pain to go away quickly.
Method 1 of 3: React Quickly
Step 1. Don't touch your eyes
Pepper spray is an oil-based substance that can cause severe eye and skin irritation. If pepper spray gets in your eyes, resist the temptation to touch your face or rub your eyes. Touching your face will only spread the oil around your face and expand the affected area.
- Don't touch your face, but moisten your eyes by blinking a lot.
- Blinking produces a fluid that can help start the process of removing pepper spray residue from the eye.
Step 2. Remove any contact lenses
If you wear contact lenses when you get pepper spray in your eyes, remove them immediately. Pepper spray residue will stick to the lens and irritate the eyes constantly. Throw away the contact lenses. Even cleaning contact lenses can't remove pepper spray residue.
- After removing contact lenses, soak your face in clean cold water.
- Open and close the eyelids in the water several times.
Step 3. Know how long the symptoms last
Even if you manage to rinse your eyes, symptoms will persist. Eye irritation may continue for approximately 30 minutes to more than two hours. Inflammation of the lining of the throat can also cause shortness of breath for up to an hour.
- If your symptoms are very severe or last longer than the time described above, you should go to a hospital or health clinic.
- If you have asthma, pepper spray can cause severe shortness of breath and you should seek emergency medical care.
Method 2 of 3: Using Water
Step 1. Flush eyes with water
Pepper spray leaves an oily residue on the skin and eyes that should be cleaned as soon as possible. The easiest way to do this is to simply rinse your face and eyes with cold water. Do this step for at least 15 minutes.
- After performing the above steps, leave the affected area exposed to air. Exposure to air helps irritants evaporate after rinsing the eyes with water.
- If you have access to a sink or sink, use them. Otherwise, use whatever clean water you can get. You can also stand under a cold shower to rinse off any pepper spray residue.
Step 2. Consider adding soap
Flushing your face and eyes with water can help wash off the oily residue of pepper spray. To help remove it from your skin, you can add a mild, non-oil based soap or dish soap.
- Close your eyes tightly, dip your face in the soap and water solution for 20 seconds.
- Rinse your face and repeat the above steps 10 times.
- Change the soapy water solution after each rinse so you don't dip your face back into the pepper spray-laden water.
- Do not leave the soap in the eyes. This step will only irritate the eyes even more.
Step 3. Use eye drops that contain salt
There may be an oily residue left on the eyes after the burning sensation subsides. To treat this, use eye drops that contain salt to remove any remaining irritants. Just apply a few drops to the eye directly and keep blinking.
- You can buy these eye drops at pharmacies, supermarkets, and pharmacy stores.
- Remember not to rub your eyes, even after performing the steps above.
Method 3 of 3: Using Milk
Step 1. Splash milk on face
Milk is often used by people who have pepper spray. Milk can relieve the burning sensation caused by pepper spray, but it can't wash away the oil and residue. You can use milk to relieve the burning sensation on the skin, thus facilitating the process of flushing the eyes effectively. Sprinkle milk on face, keep eyes closed.
- Milk is less effective than water or a saline solution in removing pepper spray residue. Experts also worry that milk is not sterile.
- Another way to use milk is to pour it into a clean spray bottle. Keep your eyes closed, then spray on your face. This can reduce irritation to your skin, which in turn can make it easier for you to flush your eyes with water more effectively. However, be aware that the pain of pepper spray is very fast and intense, you may not have time for this additional step.
- Research has found little difference in the effectiveness of pain relief between using milk and water alone.
Step 2. Use a towel soaked in milk
Soaking a towel in milk and placing it on your skin can help relieve the burning sensation from pepper spray. Soak a towel in milk, sit down, close your eyes, and spread the towel over your face. This method won't remove any pepper spray residue from your eye, but it can relieve pain and irritation of the eyelid and surrounding skin.
You can also soak your face in milk to get the same effect
Step 3. Rinse with water
After using milk on the face, it is very important to rinse it thoroughly with clean water. The milk method can't replace using water to flush your eyes, but it can help relieve other painful symptoms that will exacerbate the discomfort. After rinsing, remember not to cover your face and eyes with any cloth or bandage, leaving the area exposed to air.
- Do not use oils or lotions as they can trap pepper spray residue on the skin and even cause scalding.
- Do not use dish soap to wash your eyes directly. This step can cause a lot of pain in addition to the pepper spray.
- If you inhale pepper spray, try sipping on half a lemon to help relieve the burning sensation.
- If this article doesn't work, ask your doctor or nurse at the clinic for help.