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Mass Casualty Acute Pepper Spray Inhalation Respiratory Effect Severity

Authors: B. Michelle Sweeting


Pepper spray use has gained momentum since 1992 and although the active ingredient is readily available, it is considered a weapon with restricted use in many regions, including The Bahamas. In light of controversy in the literature regarding the severity of presenting respiration complaints among individuals postacute exposure of pepper spray inhalation, this descriptive case series study was conducted to assess the respiratory status of persons evaluated during a mass casualty in The Bahamas. Parameters noted were patients- demographics and respiration severity determined via clinical examination findings, disposition and follow-up review of the 20 persons. Their most common complaint was difficulty breathing post exposure. Two required admission and stayed for <24 hours uneventfully. All cases remained without residual complaints upon follow-up. Results showed that although respiration difficulty was perceived as the most detrimental of presenting complaints, it was noted to be mostly subjective with benign outcome.

Keywords: Acute Pepper Spray Inhalation, Capsaicinoids, Oleoresin Capsicum, Pepper spray, Respiratory severity severity

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