Blood Agents – Chemical Warfare Agents

Blood Agents – Chemical Warfare Agents

Andrew’s Note:  Today’s discussion on Blood Agents, also known as Cyanogen Agents is from U.S. Army Field Manual FM 4-25.11, First Aid (Approved for Public Release).  If you don’t think there’s any chance you’ll ever encounter a blood agent then think again.  There are a number of commercial and industrial uses for these agents in addition to their use by foreign governments in chemical warfare.  The most frightening use of these agents is by criminal or terrorist groups against an unprepared populace.

Cyanogen agents interfere with proper oxygen utilization in the body.  Hydrogen cyanide (AC) and cyanogen chloride (CK) are the primary agents in this group.

Protective MeasuresProtective Mask

Your protective mask with a fresh filter gives adequate protection against field concentrations of cyanogen agent vapor. The protective overgarments, as well as the mask, are needed when exposed to liquid AC.  [Andrew’s Note:  Military grade protective masks and garments are available for purchase from many storefront and online merchants]

Signs and Symptoms

During and immediately after exposure to cyanogen agents (depending on agent concentration and length of exposure), you may experience some or all of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Tearing (lacrimation).
  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation.
  • Sudden stimulation of breathing (unable to hold breath).
  • Nausea.
  • Coughing.
  • Tightness of chest.
  • Headache.
  • Light-headedness (dizziness).
  • Unconsciousness.

First Aid

(1)  Hydrogen cyanide. During any chemical attack, if you get a sudden stimulation of breath or detect an odor like bitter almonds, PUT ON YOUR MASK IMMEDIATELY. Speed is absolutely essential since this agent acts so rapidly that within a few seconds its effects will make it impossible for service members to put on their mask by themselves. Stop breathing until the mask is on, if at all possible. This may be very difficult since the agent strongly stimulates respiration.

(2)  Cyanogen chloride. Put your mask on immediately if you experience any irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat. Service members who are unable to mask should be masked by the nearest service member (buddy).

Andrew’s Note:  Because it is unlikely you’ll have protective equipment with you if you encounter these agents your best bet is to get to a safe area and seek medical attention without contaminating (touching) anyone or anything else.

Medical Assistance

If you suspect that you have been exposed to blood agents, seek medical assistance immediately.

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