DEFINITION AND INVENTION
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.
Antiseptic removes germs from skin, safeguards from infections caused by cuts and scratches and can also be used as household disinfectant on home surfaces and in laundry.
Use of antiseptics evolved from the ancient Egyptian process of embalming. The Egyptian and other ancient people used various concoctions such as volatile oil, wines, vinegars, honey, balsam etc. as embalming. Salting, smoking and spicing the foods are beyond recorded history.
Antisepsis is the method of using chemicals, called antiseptics, to destroy the germs that cause infections. It was developed by the British surgeon Joseph Lister. Joseph Lister, 1827–1912. Joseph Lister found a way to prevent infection in wounds during and after surgery.
Prior to the development of anesthesia, many patients succumbed to the pain and stress of surgery. Many other patients had their wounds become infected and died as a result of their infection. In 1865 the British surgeon and medical scientist Joseph Lister initiated the era of antiseptic surgery in England. While many of the innovations of the antiseptic era are procedural (use of gloves and other sterile procedures), Lister also introduced the use of phenol as an anti-infective agent.
HOW ARE ANTISEPTICS USED
Antiseptics have a variety of uses both in and out of medical settings. In both settings, they’re applied to either the skin or mucous membranes.
Specific antiseptic uses include:
Hand washing– Medical professionals use antiseptics for hand scrubs and rubs in hospitals.
Disinfecting mucous membranes– Antiseptics can be applied to the urethra, bladder, or vagina to clean the area before inserting a catheter. They can also help to treat an infection in these areas.
Cleaning skin before an operation– Antiseptics are applied to the skin before any kind of surgery to protect against any harmful microorganisms that might be on the skin.
Treating skin infections– You can buy OTC antiseptics to reduce the risk of infection in minor cuts, burns, and wounds. Examples include hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol.
Treating throat and mouth infections– Some throat lozenges contain antiseptics to help with sore throats due to a bacterial infection.
WHAT ARE SOME TYPES OF ANTISEPTICS
Antiseptics are usually categorized by their chemical structure.
Chlorhexidine and other biguanides– These are used on open wounds and for bladder irrigation.
Antibacterial dye– These help to treat wounds and burns.
Peroxide and permanganate– These are often used in antiseptic mouthwashes and on open wounds.
Halogenated phenol derivative– This is used in medical-grade soaps and cleaning solutions.
SIDE EFFECTS OF IMPROPER USE OF ANTISEPTIC
Some strong antiseptics can cause chemical burns or severe irritation if applied to skin without being diluted with water. Even diluted antiseptics can cause irritation if they’re left on skin for long periods of time. This kind of irritation is called irritant contact dermatitis. Not only that, get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have: swelling, pain, warmth, redness, oozing, or other signs of infection; blistering or crusting; or severe irritation, itching, or burning. If you’re using an antiseptic at home, don’t use it for more than a week at a time.
It is clear that microorganisms can adapt to a variety of environmental physical and chemical conditions, and it is therefore not surprising that resistance to extensively used antiseptics has been reported.