Why Do Hockey Players Use Smelling Salts?

What Are Smelling Salts?

Smelling salts have been used for centuries to revive unconscious or fainting individuals. The original formulation was a mixture of ammonium carbonate and water. Ammonia has a potent, pungent smell that can quickly wake up someone who has inhaled it.

Today, the product generally contains ammonia combined with other fragrant chemicals. When held under the nose, these compounds produce an intense aroma that can help revive someone unresponsive. Medical professionals often use salts to moderately stimulate patients who are unconscious or in a coma.

The pungent smell of ammonia can also provide temporary relief from headaches, congested sinuses, and nausea. In some cases, the product is also used as aromatherapy to invigorate the senses and boost energy levels.

Why Do Hockey Players Use Smelling Salts?

Hockey is a physically demanding sport that often leads to players sustaining injuries. When a player is hit hard enough, they can “blackout” or lose consciousness. To prevent this from happening, hockey players will sometimes use smelling salts. The salt’s strong scent helps wake the player up and prevent them from blacking out.

They can help clear up a player’s vision and improve coordination. As a result, players who use them are less likely to sustain severe injuries on the ice. While some people may not like the smell of the salts, they can be a valuable tool for hockey players, helping keep them safe during the game.

Are There Dangers To Using Smelling Salts?

Some believe that they can be harmful, especially if used excessively. The fumes can irritate the lungs and throat; over time, this irritation can lead to inflammation and scarring.

The sudden increase in heart rate can also be dangerous for people with heart conditions. For these reasons, it is important to consult a doctor before smelling salts.