10 Feb

Antiseptics

We use antiseptics everyday.  An antiseptic is a chemical agent used to kill or control the growth of microorganisms.  Hospitals use sodium hypochlorite which is identical to household bleach to control microorganisms.  Medical professionals use alcohol to sterilize the skin before an injection and betadine (an organic form of iodine) on the skin before surgery.  The betadine prevents Staphylococcus aureus from causing a post surgical infection.  Cities add chlorine to the water supply to prevent the spread of pathogens such as Salmonella typhi from getting into the drinking water.  Chemical agents are also added to food to slow down spoilage by microorganisms.  This increases the shelf life of the packaged food.  Clostridium botulinum causes a deadly form of food poisoning and is controlled by adding chemicals to canned food.  Antiseptics are not to be confused with disinfectants which are used to control microbial activity on inanimate objects.