Cool Water and SoapEdit
A 25-minute shower with cool water and soap (one that cuts through grease, such as Dawn dish soap) will provide the best relief. Remember to put all of your clothing, bags, hats, etc. into a plastic bag until they can be decontaminated. Protect your mucus membranes when transferring clothing from the bag into a washing machine. Decontaminate clothing by washing two or three times with a harsh detergent.
If the burns are severe enough, they should be treated as a superficial burn. One exception is that aloe vera should NOT be used on chemical burns. It is possible that the gel could seal in toxins. Do not use oils or oil-based products on on burns for the first 24-hours. Herbal remedies are recommended below.
L.A.W. (liquid antacid and water) can be used to cool affected areas, if a shower or water for decontamination isn't readily available. It tends to mitigate the pain of the pepper spray but doesn't remove it as well as a good shower.
Herbal Remedies Edit
Rescue Remedy (made from an essence of five flowers) is a popular and effective remedy. It is available in an alcohol-based liquid, pastilles, spray, or cream.
For a DIY-remedy, apply a cooled tea compress of calendula, lavender, chamomile, and/or marshmallow to affected areas. St. John's wort tincture taken internally may help reduce pain related to inflammation of the nerves. Low doses (3-5 drops) or homeopathic doses are recommended to reduce potential interactions (see below).
Sunburn remedies are often helpful, one exception is aloe vera because it is unknown if the gel can seal in the toxins the way it has been known to seal in staph infections. One easy sunburn remedy is to make strong black tea, let it cool, then use as a compress.
CAUTION: St. John's wort can potentially interact with a number of prescription and non-prescription medications. In particular, serotonin syndrome, a severe and potentially life-threatening condition, can occur if St. John's Wort is given to a person who is currently taking (or has taken within the past 14 days) any drug that is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. That includes any drug that is in the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) class of antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and escitalopram (Lexapro). Serotonin reuptake inhibitors also include anything in the SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) class, such as venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta). Other drugs that affect serotonin levels can potentially interact with St. John's wort to cause serotonin syndrone as well, even if they are not serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Also note that there is concern that St. John's wort has an effect on the liver that may be undesirable for people who are taking hormone treatments, but the single dose recommended above is unlikely to stimulate the liver substantially. The concern is directed toward long-term therapeutic doses of the herb.
MOFIBA - Danger! Edit
Our fundamental rule is first to do no harm. It is possible to do harm to someone if you perform this procedure incorrectly.
Really, you should be trained in-person by an experienced trainer before attempting this. We believe, however, that this information should be available online.
Further notes: In 2000, in Quebec during the FTAA protests, an alcohol eye-flush was performed. It is unknown whether this was intentional or accidental, however, in the interest of avoiding this mistake many street medics abandoned the procedure.
In 2007, in Portland, OR, the police force was testing a new formulation of pepper spray. This new formula was advertised as being 4X stronger than that already in use. Medics in that region abandoned all use of MOFIBA for fear of causing harm. Police forces across the country often purchase new formulations. It is unknown whether MOFIBA is an effective treatment at this time. Because it is a tricky treatment, that if done incorrectly or not finished causes harm, street medics in that region also abandoned the procedure and it is believed at this time that street medic trainers throughout the U.S. no longer teach the procedure. See links below:
How MOFIBA Was Done Edit
We recommend cleaning the affected area with mineral oil followed immediately by rubbing alcohol. The action medical community refers to this procedure by the acronym "MOFIBA."
It is important to work only on small, manageable areas of the body. If the mineral oil remains on the victim's skin for too long (30 seconds or so) the pain can worsen and burns can begin to form. Do not begin the procedure unless you are sure you have enough time to finish (i.e., the scene is safe).
Wet a 4x4 pad (non-sterile) or similar material with mineral oil. Carefully avoiding the eyes, thoroughly rub a small area of exposed skin with mineral oil. (You can use any vegetable oil in a pinch).
Quickly wet another 4x4 pad with rubbing alcohol, and vigorously rub off the mineral oil. Be extremely careful around the eyes. Fold the gauze as you use it, so that you are always using a non-contaminated part of the gauze.
Again, be careful to fully complete this procedure with each victim - mineral oil left on the skin may act to bind any additional pepper spray and cause the victim unnecessary pain.
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