Tear Gas: What it is, how it works and how to protect yourself

Tear gas is a highly effective chemical agent used by law enforcement and military forces to control crowds. It is a non-lethal weapon intended to disperse crowds and individuals who are protesting or engaging in illegal behavior. Tear gas is also commonly used in riot control, prisons, and other environments where there is a risk of violence.

What is Tear Gas?

Tear gas, also known as CS gas or chlorobenzylidene malononitrile, is a chemical agent that causes eye, nose, and throat irritation and inflammation. Tear gas is commonly delivered in the form of a canister that emits a fine mist or powder into the air. When inhaled, the chemical agent causes a burning sensation in the eyes and throat, making breathing difficult.

What Does Tear Gas Do?

Tear gas causes a variety of physical symptoms by stimulating the body’s pain receptors. Tear gas exposure is most commonly associated with eye burning and tearing, coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing. Additionally, the agent can cause skin irritation and vomiting.

Tear gas is intended to cause intense discomfort and pain, making it difficult for people to stay in an area where the agent has been deployed.

Effects of Tear Gas Exposure

Tear gas exposure can have a variety of effects depending on the duration and intensity of the exposure, as well as the individual’s age, health, and underlying medical conditions. Tear gas exposure can cause severe respiratory distress in some people, especially those who already have respiratory problems.

Prolonged tear gas exposure can also result in more serious health complications, such as chemical burns to the skin and eyes, permanent blindness, and lung damage. Tear gas exposure has been linked to death in rare cases, but this is usually due to pre-existing medical conditions.


Here are some remedies that may help alleviate the effects of tear gas exposure:

  1. Move to fresh air: The first and most important step is to move to an area with fresh air as quickly as possible.
  2. Rinse eyes and face with water: Use cool water to rinse your eyes and face thoroughly. You can also use saline solution or a mixture of baking soda and water to rinse your eyes.
  3. Remove contaminated clothing: Tear gas can stick to clothing, so it is important to remove contaminated clothing as soon as possible and wash them separately.
  4. Use milk or antacid: Some people find that rinsing their eyes and face with milk or a solution of antacid and water can help relieve burning sensations.
  5. Use a fan: Use a fan or a cool breeze to help disperse the tear gas particles.
  6. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to help flush out any remaining tear gas particles from your system.
  7. Seek medical attention: If your symptoms are severe or if you have difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately.

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