smelling salts and ammonia

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Posted by Brian K ( on March 10, 2001 at 21:37:22:

In Reply to: Jonny,Ted Paco and others posted by Sean Harty on March 10, 2001 at 20:32:16:

OK guys before you go jumping down his throat about poisoning people with ammonia, you should know that ammonia is in fact the primary ingredient used in smelling salts.

Ammonium carbonate, (NH3)2CO3·H2O, is a colorless-to-white crystalline solid commonly known as smelling salts; in water solution it is sometimes called aromatic spirits of ammonia.

Ammonium carbonate is mixed with perfume to create a stimulant. The ammonia fumes from the salts irritate the membranes of the nose and lungs, which triggers a reflex causing the muscles that control breathing to work faster.This explains why people sit up and take notice when smelling salts are placed beneath their nose.

Since this makes you breath faster it’s possible that his symptoms were relieved by the “hyperventilating” or exertion therapy we have all heard works for some. I am not advocating consuming ammonia or inhaling it but if you do try the smelling salts or if your brave and going to take out the bottle under your sink remember don’t put your nose over the top just wave some of the fumes with your hand toward your nose and you should be able to smell it.

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