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Emergency Medical Minute


Aug 18, 2021


Contributor: Ramnik Dhaliwal, MD JD

Educational Pearls:

  • Pepper spray is a highly irritating compound with active ingredient of capsaicin
  • Techniques to help decontaminate and alleviate symptoms of an exposure include:
    • Disrobing the patient to prevent further exposure
    • Half milk of magnesia and half water mixture can be used to soothe the skin in the area of exposure
    • Proparacaine followed by Morgan lens to irrigate the eye in adults
    • Nasal cannula connected to a liter of normal saline can passively irrigate the eye in small children and other less than cooperating patients


Tidwell RD, Wills BK. Tear Gas and Pepper Spray Toxicity. [Updated 2020 Nov 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from:

Summarized by John Spartz, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD