Smelling Salts – Effective Medical Treatments

Smelling Salts

What Are Smelling Salts, and How Do They Work?

Smelling salts have been used for everything from reviving those who have fainted to athletes needing a chemically induced wakeup, but what are smelling salts. Most of the salts you see today are aromatic spirits of ammonia, a mixture of ammonia, water, and ethanol. They are effective medical treatments.

The primary and most active ingredient is ammonia carbonate; stable chemical compounds release ammonia gas when mixed with water. Often the main ingredient in salts is compounds that mask the terrible smell of ammonia gas, usually perfume or flowers. There are cheaper imitation forms of smelling salts, consisting of diluted ammonia dissolved in water and ethanol and fragrance.

As the British journal of sports and medicine points out, these types of mixtures are not smelling salts and would be more accurate terms aromatic spirits of ammonia. Ammonia inhalants are used for inhalation only to prevent or treat fainting.

Brief History:

Romans were the first to utilize smelling salts to awaken the senses. In the early to mid-19th century, ammonium carbonate also goes by the name Baker’s ammonia since it was used as a leavening agent before the popularity of baking soda or powder. Baker’s ammonia is still used in Scandinavian Christmastime recipes like their spiced shortbread biscuits and something similar to a gingerbread cookie.

How Do They Work?

Smelling salts Work because the human body aggressively reacts to ammonia gas. In several ways, when sniffed, the gas irritates the nostril membranes and the lungs so much that it triggers a sharp inhalation reflex. Which brings more air into the lungs and thus more oxygen; this can result in improved alertness. Sniffing smelling salts raised a person’s adrenaline levels by a factor of 10 workings as an energy booster.

When a person passes out, they sometimes lose consciousness due to decreased blood flow to the brain. Sniffing some said salts can raise a person’s blood pressure and heart rate, and oxygen levels helping brain activity and reactivating the sympathetic nervous. Medical research confirms sniffing smelling salts by someone who has had a fainting spell can, in some cases, be beneficial.

Short Term Effects:

Who used to excite senses and quickly focus on a sharp focus, smelling salts are beneficial for short-term effects. They are necessarily utilized when a person is fainting or losing mind.

Long Term Effects:

There are no such long-term effects of inhaling ammonia aromatics. Some of the problems that are seen are mentioned. According to anecdotal reports, smelling salts can sometimes cause pain when used in higher doses. Allergic reactions to your nose and lungs are also possible, though they’re rare.

Smelling Salts

Risk Factors:

The question of the toxicity of ammonia gas remains. Exposure to a large amount of ammonia gas can cause serious problems.

  • Lung damage 
  • Eye blindness
  • Even death

It is highly explosive and corrosive. The Occupational safety and health administration even set a 15-minute safe exposure level for highly concentrated ammonia gas. The amount of ammonia gas that is being breathed in with a short sniff of the salts is minimal and only causes its intended effect, irritating the nose and the lungs. There has never been a case of someone dying of ammonia gas due to smelling salts.

Their Applications:

Boxing banned this for many years. They are still legal in other sports such as hockey and football. Several athletes like Peyton Manning, Landon, Brett Favre, and Tom Brady are just a few of the more prominent individuals using these salts.

 Safe Use:

For safe use of smelling salts, hold them at least 4 inches away from your nose. Having them between 10 -15 centimeters from your nose enables the salts to work without placing you at risk of burning your nasal passages.

If you have any respiratory diseases such as asthma, it’s better not to use smelling salts because it’ll make your condition worse.