Here’s what to do if you get hit by tear gas or rubber bullets

Journalists, protesters, looters, bystanders have dealt with these injuries that past week

SAN ANTONIO – Over the past week many protesters, looters, and journalists have dealt with injuries sustained from tear gas or rubber bullets.

Dr. Ralph Riviello, chair of emergency medicine at University Hospital, spoke with KSAT12 about these injuries and what you should do if you sustain them.

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What do I do if I get hit with tear gas?

When it comes to tear gas, according to Riviello, you want to immediately wash your skin with soap and water. If it gets in your eyes, flush out with tap, distilled or spring water.

“There’s actually some literature that says milk may help with the skin, but don’t put in your eyes.," Riviello said. "Also, over-the-counter Maalox helps to coat the skin and to relieve discomfort and burning,” Riviello said.

As you try to get help from a friend or family member, this is probably done better as a two-person operation.

If you don’t treat right away, the burning can last up to two hours.

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What do I do if I get hit with a rubber bullet?

The injuries from a rubber bullet are far worse.

Some of the injuries can be soft tissue bruising, swelling, bone fractures and eye injuries that can lead to vision loss or internal bleeding.

“Although rubber bullets are described as non-lethal alternatives, they can still cause pretty serious injures,” Riviello said. “They could also be lethal depending on where they hit you and what injuries they cause.”

It’s important to seek medical assistance as soon as possible if you get hit by a rubber bullet.

“With anything, it’s just being prepared,” Riviello said.

About the Author:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.