What Is Antiseptic
An antiseptic is a substance that stops or slows down the growth of microorganisms. They’re frequently used in hospitals and other medical settings to reduce the risk of infection during surgery and other procedures.
If you’ve ever witnessed any type of surgery, you probably saw the surgeon rubbing their hands and arms with an orange-tinted substance. This is an antiseptic.
Different types of antiseptics are used in medical settings. These include hand rubs, hand washes, and skin preparations. Some are also available over the counter (OTC) for home use.
Types of antiseptic
There are several types of antiseptics. Some are safe to use at home, whereas others are only suitable for use in clinical or hospital settings.
Some common types of antiseptics include:
- alcohols, such as isopropyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol
- quaternary ammonium compound
- chlorhexidine and other diguanides, for use before operations
- antibacterial dye, to treat burns and wounds
- peroxide and permanganate, to disinfect the skin or to use as a mouthwash
- halogenated phenol derivative, in soaps and solutions
- quinolone derivative, which treats wounds and can be an ingredient in throat lozenges
Antiseptics have several potential uses. Some of the most common include:
- preventing infections on the skin, particularly for cuts, scrapes, or minor burns
- dry hand-washing, which healthcare workers may do between different procedures or patients
- cleaning the skin before a medical procedure, such as a blood draw or surgery
- treating throat infections with mouthwashes or lozenges
- cleaning mucous membranes, to treat infections or before using a catheter
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