Why Is Tear Gas Especially Dangerous During COVID-19?
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The large crowds that have gathered to demonstrate for racial justice, and against police brutality in the weeks after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May were already worrisome to public health officials, although many demonstrators have worn masks, many crowds have grown much too large to maintain social distancing guidelines. Also, the protests have typically involved crowds of people shouting and chanting activities that could potentially send infected droplets far and wide, and that involved the kind of deep open mouth breathing that has been observed to increase the risk of catching the virus. We spoke with Amber Schnittke PhD. An Assistant Professor Microbiology, and the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Mercer University School of Medicine in Macon Georgia. She explained tear. Gas Components are mainly there to hit the pain receptors in your body to get to move. It's like you're poked with a stick. You want to get away from the pain. The other thing tear-gas does is trigger your para sympathetic response, a neurologic series of activities that are outside of your control, but because there's a chemical irritant in place, your body is going to do everything it can to flush it out. A person will feel the symptoms of the chemicals most commonly used tear-gas CS CNN CR within twenty to thirty seconds after being exposed. Schnittke said it's going to increase mucus production along the sites where you've had exposure, and that's mainly your respiratory mucosal linings in your nose. That means you'll have a runny nose. You're going to have mucus production in the lungs along the trachea your windpipe. You're going to want to cough that out. You're also going to want to salivate more than you ordinarily would. You're going to produce more tears. How much person's affected depends on many variables such as whether there's a breeze or how close they are to the agent. A person's is will sting. They may sneeze or wretch. Sh- Mickey said, but the most dangerous thing is the coughing. That will happen in response to tear gas. It's a deep cough because you're trying so hard to get this out of your body, and it has the potential to spread viral particles rather far it's your body's natural response to get rid of a chemical irritant, but it's the same mechanism that we're concerned about with virus spread. It's the perfect storm of things you don't want to happen in a pandemic. And of course, she's not the only concerned party during June fourth. Twenty Twenty House Appropriations hearing on the Coronavirus Response Centers for Disease Control Director Dr Robert Redfield also specifically called out that the use of tear gas by police might help the virus spread. We also spoke with Forest Brown, a resident of Atlanta who lives downtown, just two blocks from the CNN building and Centennial Olympic Park the entire has been the site of many, Atlanta, protests, past and present the first weekend of the current demonstrations, he stood outside his building with neighbors with an eye on protecting their property when he got a whiff of a pungent odor teargas. Brown said we could smell it, and it stung our eyes. We would go inside waited out, but it wasn't a strong hit. You could feel it, but then it dissipated. Saturday may thirtieth Sunday. Night was a different story. Brown said is actually in the interior courtyard of our building. I didn't see the cloud, but it was a bad dose. Compared to Saturday night, my symptoms were much worse, stinging and watering is it also made my lips feel like they were tingling burning I felt like I wanted to throw up. It made me feel very weak almost jittery like I might pass out. Brown says the worst of it was over in about thirty minutes though he felt nauseated for several hours, and even had blurred vision on Monday. Though he was wearing a mask following standard protocols and a full block away from where the tear gas was actually released, he was exposed to it. Schmidt key is concerned with the use of tear-gas demonstrations during the pandemic, not only because it potentially increases the spread of the corona virus, but also because the same people who are at risk for Covid, nineteen infection, people with underlying conditions are also at risk for side effects from tear gas exposure. Schmidt, said Covid, nineteen sort of blurs the lines between being a respiratory disease and cardiovascular disease. The similarities aren't uniform, but if you have asthma, you're going to be at higher risk of complications from something like tear gas exposure, people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or any of those sorts of ailments could have more severe outcomes. She concedes that it's a difficult situation because a person can make plans to participate in a peaceful protest and find themselves in situation that they aren't prepared for. She encourages all protesters whether they were exposed, tear gas or not to make plans to be tested for covid nineteen. However? Don't get tested immediately. When the virus gets into the body, it goes into what's called the eclipse period hiding out in the cells while it makes copies of itself, then it starts to leave the cells and spread to other cells, and that's when it becomes detectable. Sh- Mickey suggests that everyone has been at a protest rally. Get tested between three and seven days after participating, even if they're not showing symptoms because of the high rate of domestic carriers. CDC Director Redfield issued the same advice at the June fourth Senate. Appropriations hearing saying I do think there is a potential unfortunately for this to be exceeding event. Sh- Mickey said protesters do have some things going for them. They're outside. They have the benefit of ventilation. They have sunlight UV. Light is advantageous for the virus. Protesters are typically young, but I wouldn't count on those things being some sort of anti covid security blanket. If, you come into contact with tear-gas Amnesty. International says the gas masks are the best protection if they're properly fitted in sealed, though if you don't have one, they recommend wearing goggles and a respirator or a weapon Danna over the nose and mouth. If you're exposed, try to stay calm and breathe slowly. Blow your nose. Rinse your mouth with water, cough and spit trying not to swallow because he want to get those irritants out. Stays episode was written by Paddy, rest Newson and produced by tyler, playing or more in this amounts of other topics. visit how stuff works dot com brain. Stuff is production of iheartradio for more podcast. My heart radio visit the iheartradio APP apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows. This is DJ lad. I want you to check out the VLAD TV podcast launching on June seventeenth since two thousand eight Vlad. TV has been the leader in a hard hitting no-holds-barred interviews with the world's biggest rappers singers. Hollywood stars professional athletes and former big time criminals, and now you can catch all of our full link interviews available as audio podcasts, so listen to the Vlad TV podcast on iheartradio APP apple podcasts, spotify or wherever you get your podcast.