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  • Writer's pictureNative Salts

Can Smelling Salts Kill You?

There is no evidence to suggest that smelling salts are dangerous, but in very rare and extreme cases, smelling salts have the potential to cause serious health issues and even death if overused excessively to the limit. Additionally, those who already suffer from certain cardiovascular or respiratory conditions like asthma may be even more susceptible to the above-mentioned negative effects of smelling salts.

Source: Ammonia is the main active chemical in smelling salts and can be toxic or fatal in very high doses

The main direct ways that smelling salts can kill someone are through ammonia overdose, asphyxia, and cardiac arrest, in which the user’s breathing or heart stops entirely due to the extreme adrenaline caused by the ammonia gas. It can also kill indirectly by causing subsequent dangerous activities such as impaired driving, worsening depressive mood swings, or even segue into other harmful drugs. Teens and young adults are more prone to these types of erratic behaviors.

Can smelling salts kill? The short answer is no: while smelling salts have the potential to kill, the same can be said for any medicine or tool out there. Too much of anything is bad for you, including water! At the end of the day, it always boils down to the intent of the individual user. Smelling salts contain diluted ammonia and are generally always safe when used correctly. They can occasionally cause minor and temporary side effects if used too often. In this article, we will dive deeper into some of the specific potential adverse effects caused by smelling salts and what they entail.

Do smelling salts kill brain cells?

Although the stimulating effects of smelling salts typically only last for a few minutes, inhaling excessive amounts of ammonia regularly can cause severe internal damage. When toxic gas enters the lungs and is absorbed into the bloodstream, it can damage and even kill brain cells over time.

Source: If smelling salts and ammonia inhalants are heavily abused, the excess ammonia in the bloodstream can start to damage brain cells

Usually, the body can naturally remove the excess ammonia in the bloodstream over time through natural functions such as exhalation or urination. In extreme cases where the body cannot remove the excessive ammonia concentrations in the bloodstream, it can cause ammonia toxicity. This can trigger a seizure or coma, and in the worst case, even lead to death due to damage caused within the central nervous system.

As noted earlier, smelling salts can only cause long-term damage to brain cells and impose life-threatening situations in extreme overdoses or abuse. They are neither internally destructive nor fatal if appropriately used under normal circumstances.

Can smelling salts cause nosebleeds

When normally inhaled, the ammonia in smelling salts can irritate the nasal passages. This irritation disrupts the breathing rhythm, causing the lungs to inhale deeply and clear the nasal pathways. However, in cases of extreme misuse or overuse, the ammonia fumes can slowly chip away at the nasal membranes over time. This increases the potential risk of nosebleeds.

Using smelling salts excessively can deteriorate the nasal membranes overtime and increases the risk of nosebleeds

Individuals with certain lifestyles or pre-existing health conditions can further increase the risks of nosebleeds, such as those with high blood pressure, on certain medications, or being sensitive to dry air. Among frequent users of smelling salts, powerlifters are most prone to this due to the innate nature of the activity. Powerlifting involves sharply raising blood pressure through enhanced breathing techniques and wearing a lot of compressive gear. The increased pressure of the blood vessels within the nasal pathways can burst from being pushed to the max during the strenuous lift, thus causing a nosebleed.

Powerlifters constantly wear compressive gear and perform strenuous body techniques that sharply increase their blood pressure, making them more prone to nosebleeds

While nosebleeds from using smelling salts are relatively uncommon and usually not very serious, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk if you're worried.

First, be sure to carefully read the instructions included with the product and refrain from inhaling more than advised. In the case that bleeding or nasal irritation occurs, it’s advised to follow the proper medical procedures and cover your nose with a tissue or piece of cloth.

Healthier smelling salts with safer doses

Because of the aforementioned issues, there has been a shift toward healthier and safer consumer products among the newer generation. The healthier option, such as Native Salts is made with all-natural ingredients and a blend of aromatic essential oils. While the active ingredient ammonia remains, it isn’t overpowering or overly pungent like other conventional smelling salts. They do not rely on volume or excessively high doses to provide the same energy boost, making them a safer and healthier alternative to other smelling salts.

Native Salts contains all-natural ingredients and a small amount of ammonia, making it one of the most healthiest and refreshing smelling salts options in the market

Native Salts have a pleasant scent and still give you the focus and alertness you need to perform the task at hand. They are packaged in very tiny reusable bottles, which contain only a few mL of product that is effective for a long period of time.

Native Salts are meant to be used by everyone in a variety of settings. They aren’t exclusive to only lifters and athletes. If you’d like to experience this healthier option for smelling salts, you can get them here! Click the button below to learn more about Native Salts.

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