After a minor cut, a fall, or a burn, our skin is exposed to bacteria and at risk of infection from a wound. Antiseptic cleaning of the injured area is crucial to preventing this. Antiseptics, in contrast to antibiotics, which are only effective against bacteria, stop all bacterial, fungal, and viral reproduction on the surface of the body. These disinfectants aid in the temporary eradication of microorganisms to stop infection and hasten wound healing. Several guidelines must be followed when using antiseptics:
The first rule is that antiseptics shouldn’t be combined.
Antiseptics’ chemical structures may not mix well with one another, similar to many drugs. Therefore, combining products with different formulas is undoubtedly inconvenient if you are not an expert because they run the risk of interfering with each other’s efficacy, slowing the healing of wounds, and resulting in skin lesions. Use only one antiseptic that is appropriate for the type of wound being treated.
Second rule: Different antiseptics are needed for different types of wounds.
If open wounds are cleaned with an alcohol-free antiseptic, skin burning can be avoided (such as chlorhexidine or dakin). Use penetrating antiseptics like hexamidine in closed wounds, such as splinter wounds. Use hydrogen peroxide or another non-irritating, deeply purifying solution to treat wounds brought on by soil or gravel. The burning sensation is lessened while battling bacteria and potential fungus infections if the burns are cleaned with iodine derivatives in the form of an aqueous solution. However, as it makes it impossible to monitor the wound’s healing, this solution, which paints the skin, is becoming less and less popular.
The third rule is to use alcohol responsibly.
60 or 70 grade alcohol works well as an antimicrobial to clean and bandage a small wound on healthy skin. Additionally, it can be used safely to clean small everyday objects like tweezers or nail clippers. Alcohol is not advised for treating open wounds or burns due to its irritant properties. Utilizing it may result in skin lesions and deteriorate the wound’s state.
Fourth requirement: The wound must be “correctly” cleaned.
Washing hands thoroughly with soap and lots of water or an antibacterial agent is the first step in treating a wound. By doing this, the amount of bacteria that can be transferred from the hands to the wound when they come into contact with the injured area will be reduced. Additionally, washing the wound with a mild soap and lots of water is advised. To dry, use sterile gauze; avoid using cotton because its fibers might adhere to the wound. After that, the wound should be treated with the proper antiseptic and allowed to air dry. Depending on the severity of the wounds, cleanings can be repeated several times. Cleaning should only be done sparingly, though, to reduce the chance of postponing cicatrization.
Fifth rule: Make sure to check the antiseptic’s expiration date.
Antiseptics’ expiration dates are important information to know for both storage and use. The antiseptic solution might have picked up bacteria after you opened the package and could now be a source of infection. The current date should be written on the opened package to reduce the risks connected with using an expired product. A solution shouldn’t be used for two weeks after opening, and an alcohol-containing product shouldn’t be used for a month after opening. Antiseptics should not be changed from their original packaging, should be kept out of children’s reach, and should be used only after reading the prospectus.