Ocular management for CS gas exposure: exploring treatment in the pre-hospital setting

Problem: The use of CS gas has increased dramatically in recent years yet how to implement optimal management is still a matter of debate. A lack of a sandardised approach to care has left a vacuum in which various treatments have been proposed, some with no evidence base. Whilst some of these treatments may simply not work, others will increase the pain and time taken to recover. Approach: This paper looks, specifically at the ocular management of exposure to CS gas as the eyes are often the most severely affected of organs and therefore the focus of the first aider's efforts. Suggested ocular treatments proposed by the general public were explored alongside existing professional guidelines and available academic literature. Conclusions: Recommending best practice remains difficult and treatment will often have to be adapted to the local environment. Adherence to commonly agreed principles is essential and includes preventing secondary effects by use of personal protective equipment, removing those affected into a well ventilated area, removing contaminated clothing and offering reassurance.

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