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If you are hit with tear gas, remember: "once you have gotten away and removed yourself from direct exposure, it will continue as a residue on your skin and clothes. Remove, isolate, and wash your clothing ASAP, by itself, to keep the residue from spreading. Flush mucus membranes with water or LAW (half liquid antacid, half water) solution and shower, as soon as you can, in COLD water. Hot water will open your pores up and create further chemical exposure. In the aftermath, take it easy and stay hydrated to help your body flush the toxins out."- Elena Rose.
Use baking soda to cleanse- oily soaps will help the tear gas bond to your skin, and baking soda is an excellent cleanser/detoxifier.
DON'T RUB YOUR EYES! Open wide and pour in water or chamomile tea or LAW solution, but hard as it is not to, rubbing will make it worse.
Day(s) after: Soak at will in baths with Epsom salts and sea salts (don't scrimp- you can use up to one cup of each), which will help your body cleanse itself of its toxin exposure. If you are dealing with trauma from being in a police riot, this is a great time to do ritual and calm and care for your body.
For lungs that are raw and sore from tear gas inhalation: Try doing a steam with mullein and marshmallow root (2 T of each in 3-4 inches hot water in a large pot: bring to boil and inhale steam.) Drinking mullein tea is an excellent reparative to help lungs heal from toxin exposure. Put 2 T of dried herb in a quart mason jar, fill with boiling water, cap and let sit for 4 hours (less if need is urgent.) Strain and drink 2-4 cups a day, hot or cold.
For eyes, chamommile tea washes soothe- soak a clean cloth or paper towel in chamomile tea and apply to eyes for 10-15 minutes 2-4 times a day, or use a medicine dropper to drop the tea directly in. So do a wash or a compress of chickweed and eyebright- make a medicinal tea as above, and soak a cloth with warm tea and apply to closed eyes for 10-15 minutes at a time. Use a fresh cloth every time. You can aslo take the herb from the tea, fold it in a cloth and place cloth on eyes for 10-15 minutes. You can also get aloe pulp and apply it to the eyes, on its own or in a clean cloth. After using, soak cloths in baking soda if you feel there is tear gas residue soaked out of your eyes. Anything that goes in your eyes should be lukewarm or cool.
If you menstruate, tear gas exposure plus the trauma of facing murderous assholes may make you have a heavier menstrual period or throw off your period. Try acupuncture, red raspberry tea and licorice tea (2-4 cups a day) plus daily seaweed intake to reballance.
Diet: Drink lots of water to help your body flush. Try eating miso soup with burdock, daikon, seaweed and shitake to help your body shed toxins. Seaweed is great in salad or snacks to help all mucous membranes heal, to regulate your hormones if you have a uterus and menstruate, and to help your body shed toxins.
For overall detox: Take dandelion and burdock tinctures together, 25-75 drops a day- these are excellent liver detoxifers and will help your body heal. You can buy them at herbal stores or health food stores (they are also easy to make by soaking the root and leaf in vodka for 6 weeks, but you may not have that time right now- take note for the future!.) You can also eat dandelion leaves and burdock/gobo root (you can find burdock/gobo at Chinese, Asian and health food groceries, it's good raw or cooked.) Make and drink nettle tea, 2-4 cups a day, using the medicinal tea method described above- excellent detoxifier and nourisher. Rest. Give yourself a place to cry or get angry or 'shake out' your trauma/fear/ anger.
Acupuncture: is always a great idea to help repair trauma, help lungs/ eyes heal, reballance menstruation and help the body ballance and detox. It can also help with anxiety and post traumatic stress easing. In the Bay, check out Sarana Community Acupuncture, the Berkeley Acupuncture Project, Oakland Acupuncture Project and more.http://www.oaklandacupunctureproject.com/ http://www.saranacommunityacupuncture.org They all charge $15-$20 per appointment.
Here is a map of all the community acupuncture clinics in North America: http://www.communityacupuncturenetwork.org/clinics
If you have anxiety or a hard time sleeping try flower essences, skullcap, motherwort (good for everyday anxiety too), oatstraw tea (2-4 cups a day) and eating a turkey burger with cheese before bed before you hit the benzos.
If you have chemical injury, chronic illness or a weakened immune system, take extra care to detox. Use your sick/crip strategies and step them up a bit. Rest as much as you need to and lean on your detoxing, supportive herbs, acupuncture and other strategies to mind your body. Ask for help! Bank your energy as your bodymind heals! Remember that there are many fierce ways of resisting that center our sick and crip bodies.
Watch out for signs of chemical injury. In the weeks that follow, do you notice yourself feeling sick, dizzy, disoriented or nauseous when you smell perfume, gasoline, scented detergent/fabric softener, pesticides or essential oils? You may have the beginnings of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. This is a great chance to de-scent and detox the products you use. Talk to your sicko friends for advice about how we live with MCS.
Rest, love each other, talk about it, give each other hugs and get enough sleep!
as of september 2010, I'm committing to post one new piece a week (disability and travel may remix this intention.) all this work is shared under a Creative Commons license- credit if you share, no commercial use allowed.
This work by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.