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Chapter 4 : Antiseptics and Antisepsis

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Antiseptics and Antisepsis, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

Antiseptics can be defined as biocidal products that destroy or inhibit the growth of microorganisms in or on living tissue, e.g., on the skin. In theory, any biocide or biocidal process could be used on the skin or mucous membranes, although only a small number are widely used. Living tissues are more sensitive to damage than hard surfaces; therefore, the requirements for safe use restrict the use of antiseptics to those that have limited or no toxicity. Antiseptics can include a variety of formulations and preparations such as antimicrobial hand-washes, hand-rubs (“sanitizers”), surgical scrubs, preoperative preparations, ointments, creams, tinctures, mouthwashes, and toothpastes. Overall, antiseptics should demonstrate the following characteristics:

  • A wide spectrum of biocidal activity, in particular, against bacteria, fungi, and viruses
  • Rapid biocidal activity
  • Little or no damage, irritation, or toxicity to the tissue
  • Little or no absorption into the body
  • If possible and applicable, some persistent biocidal (or biostatic) activity (Many biocides used in antiseptics can remain on the skin following washing or application, allowing for continuing biocidal or growth-inhibitory action over time.)

Citation: McDonnell G. 2017. Antiseptics and Antisepsis, p 167-183. In McDonnell G, Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization: Types, Action, and Resistance, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819682.ch4
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Figures

Image of FIGURE 4.1
FIGURE 4.1

Cross-section of skin structure. Illustration by Patrick Lane, ScEYEnce Studios.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2017. Antiseptics and Antisepsis, p 167-183. In McDonnell G, Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization: Types, Action, and Resistance, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819682.ch4
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Image of FIGURE 4.2
FIGURE 4.2

Examples of types of antiseptic products. HibiScrub bottle: Molnlycke Health Care AB. Used with permission. The American Society for Microbiology is not employed by, or affiliated with, Molnlycke. STERIS product: Image courtesy of STERIS, with permission. Betadine Solution: Image courtesy of Purdue Pharma, LLC, with permission. Listerine is a trademark and brand of Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2017. Antiseptics and Antisepsis, p 167-183. In McDonnell G, Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization: Types, Action, and Resistance, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819682.ch4
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Image of FIGURE 4.3
FIGURE 4.3

Example of biocide-impregnated wipes for skin applications. Product Image courtesy of Ethicon, with permission.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2017. Antiseptics and Antisepsis, p 167-183. In McDonnell G, Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization: Types, Action, and Resistance, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819682.ch4
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Image of FIGURE 4.4
FIGURE 4.4

A representation of the penetration of chlorhexidine into the skin epidermis. The concentration of residual activity varies, depending on the formulation and application of the antiseptic. In this case residual activity was present following washing with a 4% chlorhexidine formulation. The concentration can be determined by removing various layers of the epidermis by tape-stripping (using adhesive tape to remove various layers) or by histologically removing layers by sectioning, followed by chlorhexidine extraction and determination.

Citation: McDonnell G. 2017. Antiseptics and Antisepsis, p 167-183. In McDonnell G, Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization: Types, Action, and Resistance, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819682.ch4
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References

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Tables

Generic image for table
TABLE 4.1

Common or notable infections of the skin

Citation: McDonnell G. 2017. Antiseptics and Antisepsis, p 167-183. In McDonnell G, Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization: Types, Action, and Resistance, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819682.ch4
Generic image for table
TABLE 4.2

Examples of various guidelines and standards that describe the types, uses, and requirements for antiseptics

Citation: McDonnell G. 2017. Antiseptics and Antisepsis, p 167-183. In McDonnell G, Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization: Types, Action, and Resistance, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819682.ch4
Generic image for table
TABLE 4.3

Examples of the most widely used biocides in skin antiseptics and washes

Citation: McDonnell G. 2017. Antiseptics and Antisepsis, p 167-183. In McDonnell G, Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization: Types, Action, and Resistance, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819682.ch4
Generic image for table
TABLE 4.4

Miscellaneous biocides used as antiseptics and their applications

Citation: McDonnell G. 2017. Antiseptics and Antisepsis, p 167-183. In McDonnell G, Antisepsis, Disinfection, and Sterilization: Types, Action, and Resistance, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819682.ch4

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