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Antiseptics are antiseptic agents designed to prevent decomposition processes on the surface of open wounds, for example, in wounds formed after major operations or bruises, or to delay changes in the blood that have already begun. Antiseptics are used to treat the hands of surgeons and medical personnel before contact with patients.
Some antiseptics are truly germicidal, capable of killing microbes, while others are bacteriostatic and only prevent or inhibit their growth.
Antibacterial drugs are antiseptics whose ability to act against bacteria has been proven. Microbicides that destroy viral particles are commonly called antiviral drugs.
The growth of bacteria requires a nutrient medium, moisture, oxygen (if the bacteria are aerobic), as well as a certain minimum temperature. These conditions have been studied through experience in food preservation and the ancient practice of embalming the dead, characterized by the earliest known systematic use of antiseptics. Before the concept of microbes was formed, a lot of attention was paid to the prevention of decay: the amount of agent that had to be used to prevent the formation of pus and decay was determined. However, due to the lack of a developed understanding of the microbial theory, this method was inaccurate, and today antiseptics are evaluated by their effect on pure cultures of certain microbes and / or their vegetative and spore forms. Currently, an aqueous solution of phenol of a certain fixed strength is used as a standard against which other antiseptics are compared.
Antiseptics are used in the food industry. In particular, many preservatives are based on antiseptic properties that inhibit the development of microflora in preserved foods. For example, ethylene oxide is used to disinfect medical equipment and instruments, primarily those that are sensitive to heat, such as disposable syringes.
Paints and varnishes with antiseptic properties are used in construction to protect wood materials from saprophytic microflora.
Wood preservatives help to protect wood from decay, mold, blue stain, insects, moisture, fire and combustion, preserve freshly sawn wood for the period of transportation.
Antiseptics are a part of detergents used in everyday life, at catering establishments, industrial enterprises and other institutions.
Hand sanitizers are alcohol-based hygiene products. This type of disinfectant is used in the home and at work to prevent the transmission of pathogenic microorganisms, as well as to comply with basic hand hygiene rules in public places. However, overuse of antiseptics disrupts the protective skin and can lead to infection. During the period of coronavirus, COVID-19, antiseptics began to be used everywhere: in shopping centers, cafes and other public places.