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How does tear gas affect your lungs? | Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos Johns Hopkins Medicine explains

Contributor: Brian H. Waters (@Brianhwaters)

As thousands of people participate in protests for social justice reform around the world, another critical conversation has surfaced surrounding tear gas and its affects on the respiratory system.

In reference to the unjust deaths of #GeorgeFloyd, #AhmaudArbery and #BreonnaTaylor, protestors are chanting for change in the midst of a pandemic, while also being sprayed by law enforcers with tear gas.

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Courtesy: Johns Hopkins Medicine

Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos of Johns Hopkins Medicine explains the affects of the chemical weapon and methods of prevention to ensure safety.

“As a lung doctor.. it’s good to see a lot of the protestors wear masks..recognizing the pandemic is still present, but those masks are not going to prevent the particles of tear gas from getting in their respiratory system,” said Galiatsatos.

According to the CDC, riot control agents, often referred to as tear gas, are chemical compounds that temporarily make people unable to function by causing irritation to the eyes, mouth, throat, lungs, and skin.

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No one is exempt from tear gas, whether you are a participant or a journalist reporting the news. One journalist who was reporting from a sidewalk while covering the protests shared his experience about the uncontrollable burning.

It’s a burning that you cannot control. It’s not only in your eyes. I inhaled the tear gas and could not breathe. You’re gasping for your breath, and no matter what you do, you’re still choking.

Galiatsatos notes the distance between a person and the tear gas can determine the short-long term effects. For example, some symptoms may include a cough, shortness of breath and watery eyes. Long-term effects of tear gas are determined by a person’s pre-existing health conditions.

These symptoms serve as the body’s defense mechanism to keep the chemical from entering your blood stream. 

The combination of COVID-19 and tear gas can affect the respiratory system, but recovery is still attainable.

“At this moment, we need to come together for a moral and ethical cause. I would recommend [to] keep in mind we are still in a pandemic.”

Galiatsatos recommends these safety precautions to protestors:

  • Always wear a face mask
  • Take hand sanitizer with you to keep your hands clean
  • Remain socially distant as much as possible
  • Use signs to keep voice tone at a moderate level

If you would like to connect with Dr. Galiatsatos, please reach out to him via twitter @panagis21.

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Benedict College President ensures over 120 students arrive home safely during COVID-19 pandemic

By: Digital Staff  | Happy International Women’s Month

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Credit and Photography Rights: Benedict College

One Historically Black-College President ensured over 120 student arrived home safely during the unexpected Coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, the first-female President of Benedict College in Colombia, South Carolina made a public statement on Facebook about the financial support from alumnus, the Columbia Chapter of the Links, Inc. and the Benedict College Board of Trustees that made the traveling accommodations much more smoother for her students.

“We provided luggage, money for gas, paid for bags and provided cash for food while traveling to our neediest students. Benedict ran 24-hour shuttle service to Charleston, Charlotte, and Columbia airports as well as to the train station and the bus depot, regardless of whether we purchased the ticket or the students booked themselves. We have transported belongings to storage facilities for students and assisted with boxes etc. for students to pack and store their items. In short, we have done everything we could think of to make a terrible situation a little less terrible for our students,” Dr. Artis wrote on her Facebook page.

Nearly 90 airline tickets (domestic and international),  4 train tickets purchased and 5 bus tickets for students. In addition, One Trustee member personally booked over 45 plane tickets, according to Dr. Artis’s Facebook page. 

Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis Facebook Statement: 
PRAISE REPORT!
As everyone knows, Benedict College will follow the order issued by the SC Governor, closing all public colleges and Universities in SC. The public/private distinction is irrelevant with the safety of our students, staff and faculty at stake. Therefore, on Sunday I notified the campus community that we would be closing the campus today at 5pm.
Recognizing the extreme financial hardship this would be for many of our students and families, I reached out to the Benedict College Board of Trustees for help, and they delivered in a mighty way! Due to the personal and collective generosity of our Trustees, and a generous donation from the Columbia Chapter of the Links, Inc., Benedict was able to offer emergency travel assistance for students with no resources to get home. In total, Benedict College was able to provide travel assistance to more than 120 students. We booked nearly 90 airline tickets (domestic and international), purchased 4 train tickets and 5 bus tickets for students. One of my Trustees personally booked over 45 plane tickets!
We provided luggage, money for gas, paid for bags and provided cash for food while traveling to our neediest students. Benedict ran 24-hour shuttle service to Charleston, Charlotte, and Columbia airports as well as to the train station and the bus depot, regardless of whether we purchased the ticket or the students booked themselves. We have transported belongings to storage facilities for students and assisted with boxes etc. for students to pack and store their items. In short, we have done everything we could think of to make a terrible situation a little less terrible for our students.
The transportation, housing, facilities, athletics, campus safety, retention, IT, student health center, HR, finance, academic, student services and administrative teams have worked non-stop for the last 48-72 hours to assist and care for our students. We are far from perfect, we made mistakes, and in hindsight, could have done some things differently. After all, we are human beings who were faced with an unprecedented crisis. However, every decision made, every dollar donated, every message drafted, every call made and every meeting held, were done with our students, staff and faculty and their well-being in mind.
I pray for God’s grace, mercy and protection over the entirety of the BC Family and hope that we can re-open the Benedict Campus very soon. A College campus isn’t a campus without it’s students…I miss you already. I hope to see you again soon – especially my Seniors who are praying for an “on-time” commencement!
I am proud to lead an institution where a Board of Trustees demonstrates its commitment to students by contributing their personal financial resources to support our vulnerable students in a crisis. I am proud of our faculty for transitioning to online delivery practically overnight. I am proud of a staff that works non-stop to care for our students. I am proud of the calls and emails and texts I’ve received from Alumni and community members offering their support. That is what attending an HBCU is all about. We are #HBCUStrong! We are #TheBESTofBC!