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What is Pepper Spray and How Does it Work

Pepper spray is a self-defense weapon that contains Oleoresin Capsicum or (OC). OC is an inflammatory agent made from hot cayenne and other peppers. Upon contact to the facial area, it causes an intense burning sensation, temporary blindness, restricted breathing and disorientation. Depending on concentration, affects can last anywhere from 15 to about 60 minutes, which will help put a safe distance between you and an attacker.  The time you get while the suspect is affected will help you escape and call the police. Pepper spray is inexpensive, affective, and a favorite self-defense choice in today’s market.

The reaction to pepper spray is involuntary (not dependent on pain response), so it is effective on those who feel no pain, such as psychotics, drunks and drug abusers. Pepper spray also works to control animals and is sold as animal repellant.

Pepper spray is used by nearly every law enforcement agency throughout the country. It is non-lethal and extremely effective when sprayed in the facial area and eyes.

Because it is non-lethal, you will be more likely to use it without hesitation. If you act quickly, avoidance of serious injuries are very possible. Pepper defense spray is not expensive, and most States allow you to carry it without a permit.

When using it you should be aware that it must be sprayed in the eyes or inhaled directly and it may take a few seconds for it to be effective. Rain may reduce range and effectiveness and you could get mist back when sprayed against strong wind.

OC will not degrade over time, but as the unit gets older, it may not spray as far as expected, if at all. The aerosol propellant may leak out, rendering the spray less effective. To help insure integrity you should test your spray every 90 days. Testing will reduce the contents of the canister and you may need to replace the unit every 9 to 12 months. In any case, it is recommended that you replace your spray after the expiration date stamped on the unit canister.

You should use pepper spray if you are threatened or your life is in danger. Use it ONLY in defense of yourself. It is a crime to use self-defense sprays in an offensive manner.

Don’t panic if you get spray on yourself; Fresh air, water, soap and time are all that is needed to decontaminate you. Do NOT rub the affected area! As soon as possible you should remove all contaminated clothing and flush the affected area with cool water. (Warm water may intensify the burning and inflammation!) Wash the affected area with non-oil or cold cream based soap. Don’t apply oily lotions–they will trap OC resin onto your skin.

Have a physician examine the exposed area if any irritation or pain persists after you are  decontaminated.

Pepper spray is LEGAL in all fifty states. Some states and cities have specific regulations pertaining to the purchase, possession and use of defense sprays. Please check with your local law enforcement agency for any regulations your state may have.

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