SAO PAULO, Brazil — With protests around the world sometimes taking a turn for the worse — most recently in Brazil — knowing what you should bring with you to the streets can be crucial. Here is a list of what to make sure you pack in your protester's tool kit.
1. Vinegar-soaked bandana — If you don't have access to a gas mask, the next best thing to protect yourself from tear gas is a vinegar-soaked bandana. Tie it around your face so that it covers your mouth and nose to make breathing easier as you try to get to higher ground or an area away from the gas, which can make it difficult to catch your breath, even for the healthiest of lungs. A painter's mask soaked in vinegar is another popular option to keep you breathing easy.
2. Swim goggles — Tear gas also, of course, will make your eyes water and burn, so it's best to keep them covered. An easy and cheap way to protect your vision is with a tight-fitting pair of swim goggles. For those of us who wear glasses, protective eyewear meant for construction workers does the trick too. If it's the no-shatter type, better yet, as it can keep your vision safe from rubber bullets.
3. Water — This might seem like a no-brainer, but water could be useful for more than just keeping hydrated. If you do get tear gas in your eyes, you can flush them out with water to lessen the symptoms. And make sure not to rub them; that will only make the burning worse.
4. Water-proof clothing — If you have any clothes that are water-proof, they're your best bet for keeping dry if it rains or keeping tear gas from penetrating your skin. While cotton clothes are probably most comfortable, they tend to hold in the gas, keeping it against your body longer. If you don't own anything water-proof, make sure to take a change of clothes with you. Then you can swap anything that ends up unwearable.
5. Cardboard and paint — If you're going to a protest, you'll want your message heard. Any type of cardboard, paper or fabric will do, as long as you've got paint and markers to write or draw about the change you want.
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