As if a pandemic was not enough, the month of June came with the unfortunate death of George Floyd. Another loss of black life at the hands police brutality, racism, and the corrupted political system of America. It seemed like the people of the United States have had enough of how white privilege and people constantly getting away with things, that they decided to not even care about the current coronavirus situation and the rules of social distancing and hence country wide protests started. And as if the reason behind all the protests was not enough of a representation of the police brutality and everything that is wrong with America, the protestors were attacked with tear gas by the police as a way to stop the protests. So in case you are also among the protestors and at the risk of being effected by the this riot control agent, here’s how you can protect yourself;
The first thing to do in case you are exposed to tear gas is to leave the areas immediately. Find an open area and keep washing your eyes with fresh or cold water for at least 10 to 15 minutes. This is because the chemical in the tear gas causes irritation and pain in the areas it effects. Although it can affect any part of your body, but as it thrives on moisture, your eyes are more at risk. It can also cause redness in your eyes. You feel as if your eyes are burning and your vision gets blurry.
Rubbing or even touching your eyes can make the situation worse, so try your best to not do that. Make sure you take plenty of water bottles with you whenever you go for protests and use them until you find another source of water. Even if you think that you might not need them for yourself, you can use them to help someone else.
When you will start flushing your eyes with water, you might feel worse initially, but after a while you will start getting better. You might also hear from some people that using other fluids like milk is better, but they are not tested or recommended by doctors. So, for now, stick to water.
Make sure that you do not go to the protests wearing contacts or lens, in case you use them. And in case you see an effected person wearing, ask them to remove them immediately. Other than that, wear all kinds of protective material before you go to protests. Masks, gloves, full-coverage clothing, and goggles. These will also keep you safe from being effected by the corona virus.
Remember that your eyes might be the only part that got effected immediately, but the particles of the gas are still present on your clothes, your belongings, and your hair. Remove your clothes with utmost care and take a shower as soon as you can. For this you can also bring extra clothes with you to the protests so that you do not have to wait till you reach you home to do that. Wash those clothes as well as any other thing that you were carrying.