The term “antiseptic” refers to any chemical that kills bacteria. There are many different antiseptics available, including topical gels, soaps, and disinfectants. Most antiseptics contain hydrogen peroxide, which is a common ingredient. Although antiseptics kill bacteria more effectively than disinfectants, they can cause damage to human cells and tissues. Most effective in disinfecting inanimate objects, and contaminated wounds, are antiseptics.
Different antiseptics have different mechanisms. Their effectiveness depends on the concentration, time and temperature. Antiseptics should only be used in concentrated quantities as their activity decreases with dilution. Some antiseptics lose activity after a certain point. Others are active for longer periods of times. Halogens and mercurials are quick acting antiseptics while dyes and compounds of heavy metals take longer to kill bacteria.
Alcohols can act as antiseptics in many cases. They can also be flammable so they should be avoided near certain lasers. Standard operating rooms are not suitable for alcohol. To use an antiseptic, skin must be clean of gross contaminants. The preparation should extend several centimeters beyond the drapes. Depending on the procedure, an antiseptic may not make a significant difference. It is important to apply the antiseptic in a thorough and effective manner.
Some antiseptic products can be dangerous for humans, contrary to common belief. According to a recent FDA report, 24 ingredients in OTC antiseptic products were declared unsafe. This ban does not affect existing antiseptic products. However, manufacturers are updating their formulations in order to eliminate these ingredients. It is important to consult your doctor before you apply an antiseptic to a patient.
While both types of antiseptics are effective, they are not the same. Some antiseptics can be used to disinfect nonliving surfaces while others are better for cleaning wounds. Typically, antiseptics are used in medical settings, while disinfectants are used for cleaning surfaces. For example, antiseptics should never be used on silicone catheters. However, you can apply hand sanitisers made from 60% alcohol.
The ability to inactivate bacteria determines the antiseptic properties. The presence of a functional group within the aromatic ring can enhance phenol’s antimicrobial capabilities. Similarly, ortho-phenyl-para-chlorophenol and ortho-phenyl-para-ch-phenylphenol have improved their antimicrobial capabilities over the parent chemical.