A: To answer this question, let’s look at how pepper-spray, a commonly used aerosolized deterrent, works.
How Pepper-Spray Works:
Often employing an oil derived from cayenne peppers, pepper spray affects the eyes, inner nose, upper respiratory tract, and skin almost instantly upon contact. The intensely painful burning sensation caused by this aerosolized deterrent can last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or more. But it doesn’t stop at external discomfort. In fact, this particular irritant is so powerful that it often causes vomiting and can even affect breathing as the sprayed particulates enter the lungs.
What This Means For Zombies:
Like any creature, that’s eyes, nose, and/or skin are adversely affected by a caustic substance, Living Zombie types like Type 2 Viral and Vodoun, are subject to the pains of pepper spray and other deterrents of similar design.
But the pain might not be enough to truly deter them…at least not all of them. Some individuals have been shown to build a resistance to pepper spray and similar deterrents. Though typically speaking, these are individuals that have been hit with repeated doses over time and/or have very spicy dietary habits.
The real problem is that drug addled and crazed individuals have been shown to be capable of ignoring the affects of pepper spray, even when applied directly to the face. These individuals, similar to Zombies, are operating under such altered states and/or mental conditions that they just keep coming…no matter what you do. Personally speaking, if you have the choice of trying to outrun a living Zombie or try a bit of spray on them, we recommend a good sprint.
What about Undead Zombies?
Undead Zombies, like Type 1 Viral and Chemical, are still a bit of a puzzle to the scientific community at large, and because we don’t know exactly what makes them totter about while they search for their next meal, we can’t be sure what would stop them, short of massive or well-placed damage to the brain.
Because these Zombie types lack active pain receptors (except as seen in Return of the Living Dead), it’s likely that caustic substances such as pepper spray will do little or nothing in the way of deterring them…though it may damage mucous membranes in the eyes and nose, making it more difficult for an Undead Zombie to pinpoint your location.
Currently, there are no sprays, pepper or otherwise, that are known to affect an Undead Zombie enough to stop them from advancing towards a victim. And while some scientists believe that you may be able to mask your scent by rubbing Zombie flesh and fluids on your body, that isn’t so much a deterrent as it is a camouflage…plus it’s both disgusting and dangerous.
While there are a number of companies that sell “Anti-Zombie” spray, we are apt to believe that this is more marketing than reality. So when it comes to Zombies, undead or not, it’s best to holster the spray and hide, or better yet…run away.