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An antiseptic agent is a substance that is used to kill or prevent the growth of microorganisms on living tissue or surfaces. These agents are commonly used in healthcare settings to reduce the risk of infection, and are also used in personal care products to maintain good hygiene.
- Antiseptic agents can be broadly classified into two categories: chemical and physical.
Chemical antiseptic agents
- Chemical antiseptic agents are substances that are applied to living tissue to kill or inhibit the growth of microorganisms. They can be further classified into several types, including:
- Alcohol: ethanol and isopropanol are the most commonly used alcohols as antiseptic agents. They are effective against a wide range of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Alcohol works by denaturing the proteins and cell membranes of microorganisms, leading to their death.
- Chlorhexidine: chlorhexidine is a powerful antiseptic agent that is effective against a broad range of microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi. It is commonly used in surgical settings and in the prevention of dental caries.
- Hydrogen peroxide: hydrogen peroxide is a weak antiseptic agent that is effective against some bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It works by releasing oxygen, which disrupts the metabolic processes of microorganisms.
- Quaternary ammonium compounds (qacs): qacs are a class of antiseptic agents that are effective against a wide range of microorganisms, including bacteria and viruses. They work by disrupting the cell membranes of microorganisms, leading to their death.
Physical antiseptic agents
- Physical antiseptic agents are substances that work by physically removing or killing microorganisms, without the use of chemicals. Some examples of physical antiseptic agents include:
- Ultraviolet light: ultraviolet light is used to sterilize surfaces and equipment in healthcare settings. It works by disrupting the dna of microorganisms, leading to their death.
- Heat: high temperatures can be used to kill microorganisms on surfaces or equipment. Steam, boiling water, and dry heat are commonly used methods.
- Filtration: filtration can be used to remove microorganisms from liquids or air. Filters with fine mesh sizes can trap and remove microorganisms.
- Irradiation: irradiation can be used to kill microorganisms on surfaces or in food products. It works by damaging the dna or cell membranes of microorganisms.
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