Jalapenos are a staple ingredient in Mexican cuisine, with their spicy flavor and distinct aroma making them a popular choice for dishes ranging from salsa to chili. However, handling these chili peppers can be a bit tricky, and one wrong move could lead to the dreaded jalapeno-in-the-eye experience. Contact with capsaicin, the compound that gives jalapenos their heat, can cause intense burning and irritation in the eyes, leaving you in distress. But don’t worry, as there are several quick and easy remedies that can help alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by jalapeno in the eye.
First Aid for Jalapeno in Eye
If you accidentally rub your eyes after handling jalapenos, it’s crucial to act quickly. The first step is to flush your eyes with cool water. While it may seem counterintuitive, avoid using warm or hot water, as it may intensify the burning sensation. Instead, gently splash cool water over the affected eye, holding your eyelids open to ensure thorough flushing. Repeat the process for 10 to 15 minutes, until the burning sensation subsides.
Milk to the Rescue
If you do not have access to water or the cool water does not bring relief, grab a glass of milk. Milk contains casein, a protein that helps to overcome capsaicin’s heat. Dip a cotton ball or a clean cloth in a bowl of milk and place it over the affected eye. Hold it there for a few minutes, and you’ll find quick relief from the burning sensation. Repeat the process if necessary.
Another quick and easy remedy to get jalapeno out of your eyes is a saline solution. You can buy a saline solution or make one by dissolving half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Soak a clean cloth or cotton pad in the saline solution and hold it over the eye for 10 to 15 minutes. Saline solution helps to neutralize the pepper’s oils, which calm down the burning sensation in the eye.
Cucumber – the Soothing Agent
Cucumber is another readily available remedy that can help soothe burning eyes caused by jalapenos. Cucumber contains compounds that have a cooling effect and help reduce inflammation. Cut a cucumber into slices and place them over the affected eye. Keep them there for several minutes, replacing them with fresh slices as needed until the burning sensation subsides.
Applying Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a potent soother that helps heal burns and reduce inflammation. Apply some fresh aloe vera gel directly to your eye. Be careful to avoid contact with the eyelashes; otherwise, they will stick together when the gel dries. Leave it for a few minutes, and you’ll feel a cooling sensation that alleviates the burning feeling. Avoid using aloe vera products that have added fragrances, as these can cause irritation to already irritated eyes.
An ice pack can help reduce the burning and inflammation if you don’t have milk or cucumber slices on hand. Wrap a few pieces of ice in a soft cotton cloth and hold it over the affected eye for a few minutes. Do not apply ice directly to your skin as it can cause ice burns. Repeat the process until the burning sensation subsides.
If the burning sensation persists for an extended period, you can use hydrocortisone ointment to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Apply a small amount of hydrocortisone ointment to the affected area around the eye. Be extra careful not to let the ointment get into the eye, as this can cause further irritation. Hydrocortisone ointment helps soothe the skin, reduce inflammation, and alleviate itching and burning.
Preventing Jalapeno in Eye
While these remedies can provide quick and easy relief from jalapeno in the eye, the best strategy is always to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are some tips to avoid the jalapeno-in-eye experience:
Wearing gloves while handling jalapenos is the best way to avoid coming in contact with capsaicin. Gloves protect your hands from the pepper’s oils, preventing them from getting on your skin and ultimately in your eyes. Some people prefer to use disposable gloves while others use reusable gloves.
Use Knife and Cutting Board
Do not use your hands to cut jalapenos. Instead, use a sharp knife and a cutting board to chop them. Avoid breathing in jalapeno fumes while chopping them, as they could irritate your eyes and throat. Using a knife and cutting board reduces the likelihood of oil getting on your skin and in your eyes.
Wash Hands Immediately
Wash your hands thoroughly after handling jalapenos to remove any traces of the pepper’s oils on your skin. Use soap and warm water to clean your hands and fingernails. Be careful not to touch your eyes while washing your hands.
Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes
If you’ve been handling jalapenos, avoid rubbing your eyes or touching your face until you’ve washed your hands. Rubbing your eyes can lead to the jalapeno-in-eye experience and can cause significant discomfort.
Keep Your Hands Away from Your Face
If you can’t wash your hands immediately after handling jalapenos, resist the urge to touch your face or eyes until your hands are clean. Keeping your hands away from your face will prevent the pepper’s oils from spreading and reduce the risk of eye irritation.
Jalapeno in the eye is an unpleasant experience that can cause significant discomfort. The remedies discussed above, such as flushing your eye with water or applying aloe vera or milk to the eye, can offer quick relief from the burning and irritation caused by capsaicin. However, prevention is always better than cure, and taking steps such as wearing gloves or using a knife and cutting board to handle jalapenos can help you avoid the jalapeno-in-eye experience altogether.
- What should I do if I get jalapeno in my eye?
- What is the best remedy for jalapeno in the eye?
- How can I avoid getting jalapeno in my eyes?
If you accidentally rub your eyes after handling jalapenos, flush your eyes with cool water immediately. If the burning sensation persists, try using a saline solution, milk, or a cold compress to alleviate your pain
The best remedy to get jalapeno out of eyes is a combination of flushing eyes with cool water and using either milk, cucumber slices, or aloe vera gel to soothe the burning sensation.
To avoid getting jalapeno in your eyes, wear gloves while handling peppers, use a knife and cutting board, wash your hands thoroughly after handling jalapenos, avoid touching your face, and avoid rubbing your eyes.
- Pepper Geek. (2021). Jalapeno Peppers: Everything You Need to Know. [online] Available at: https://peppergeek.com/jalapeno-peppers/ [Accessed 1 Oct. 2021].
- Medical News Today. (2021). How to Treat a Jalapeño Burn. [online] Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/jalapeno-burn#1 [Accessed 1 Oct. 2021].
- Food.com. (2021). How to Cut a Jalapeno Pepper. [online] Available at: https://www.food.com/article/how-to-cut-a-jalapeno-pepper-554 [Accessed 1 Oct. 2021].