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Hand sanitizer as wound antiseptic?

Discussion in 'First Aid Station' started by AcesQ, Apr 12, 2011.

    AcesQ Loaded Pockets

    Hello folks, one question here:

    Can hand sanitizer be used as wound antiseptic?

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    mister_fox Loaded Pockets

    Not 100% sure about that, I have used sanitizer as an antiseptic it stings like its working and seemed to stop infections. Cant guarantee anything though.

    Flight-ER-Doc Loaded Pockets

    No. Alcohol kills living cells and should never be used in an open wound.

    Wash the wound out with clean water, use soap if you have it and rinse well.

    Chicago Tri Man Loaded Pockets

    I do not have a medical citation for this, but it is my understanding that alcohol (which is the disinfectant in hand sanitizers) should NOT be used inside of or on open wounds. If used in this way, the alcohol kills some of the surviving cells and tissue, along with the bacteria, actually delaying the healing process, and increasing the risk of infection.

    Get a bottle of iodine or betadine for this purpose. Both are excellent germ killers, yet are more gentle on your tissue.

    Chicago Tri Man Loaded Pockets

    Flight-ER-Doc beat me to the punch.

    AcesQ Loaded Pockets

    But if there's other better alternative like water and soap, antiseptic should be the last choice?

    Flight-ER-Doc Loaded Pockets

    No. It will create more bad results than it will solve. You'd be better off urinating on it.

    Mr Hahn Loaded Pockets

    Listen to Flight-ER-Doc, useless you know for sure, USE WATER ONLY.

    - If you keep a blank (no needle) 10cc syringe in your FAK (which I recommend) then us it to gently irrigate the wound with water.

    - If the wound is highly contaminated AND you have a couple of betadine swabs in the FAK: place 2 swabs in a canteen cup, fill with water, flush the wound with diluted betadine solution (again, use syringe if you have it), then rinse with pure water.

    - If you use soap & water, use the soap sparingly and flush with pure water after.

    - If no FAK available, do not get creative with sanitizers, USE WATER ONLY.
    • In Omnia Paratus

    cap6888 Loaded Pockets

    Someone has been watching USNERDOC on Youtube.

    phaserrifle Loaded Pockets

    would the saline solution used in some FAKs for eyewash be suitable?
    I only ask because in some scenarios (I'm mainly thinking wilderness) clean water may not be easily available.

    mister_fox Loaded Pockets

    Well you learn something every day, thats what I get for guesswork. I only did this because of a lack of other options but by the sounds of it carrying soap instead could be a good idea.

    Mr Hahn Loaded Pockets

    Saline Solution (Non medicated 0.9% salt solution):
    - Can wash eyes
    - Can wash wounds

    Water:
    - Can wash eyes
    - Can wash wounds
    - You can drink it

    Personally, if I'm going to carry a liquid with me for this purpose it's going to be water. I'm adding a tube vault of sterile water to my FAK when my County Comm order arrives. And for the sake of information, I'm not a doctor or medical professional. I'm just passing on some of the basic field medicine training I received in the military. My info is not guaranteed to be the best or most current.

    Flight-ER-Doc Loaded Pockets


    Yes. Or you can make your own easily. One little self-serve packet of salt, one cup of water. While the water should be sterile, clean is good enough - if you're drinking it it should be OK.

    You can also make oral rehydration solution from 4 packets of salt, 4 bags (single serving) of sugar, a quart of water. It's close enough to the right proportions to work.

    Flight-ER-Doc Loaded Pockets

    I personally prefer a much larger syringe (60cc). You need to use a LOT of water to wash out a wound. Also, a 20 or so gauge angiocath with needle removed makes a great tip...you get the right pressure that way.

    Mr Hahn Loaded Pockets

    You're right, I've seen his videos and I've referenced them on this forum before because they have good info. However, his information is nothing new because I was given the exact same advice and training by a Chief Corpsman in the U.S. Navy, and I was given the same training again in the U.S. Army while attending SERE level C. It's pretty universal stuff and mostly common sense.

    I've also blatantly copied "USNERDOC's" checklist because I like the format. I posted this in another thread about aLOKSAK baggies, but here it is again for those that might be interested. I simply reused a pouch from Adventure Medical kits to hold everything because I like the bright color, the rest I assembled myself at a few drug stores.

    I tried a larger syringe but they don't fit in this little FAK, I do have a 60cc in my home kit though.

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    AcesQ Loaded Pockets

    Anyone can recommend me any sites to buy Betadine swaps / iodine swaps? And thanks to Flight-ER-Doc and the rest of the users for your valuable advice. Appreciated. :)

    Flight-ER-Doc Loaded Pockets

    The drug store, wal mart, chinook med, etc.

    If you get the betadine swabs on a stick, keep them in a separate ziplock bag (or two), they tend to leak. Also, both alcohol and betadine swabs have a short shelf life and will dry out

    And you're welcome.

    Prætorian ® Loaded Pockets

    Good info here. I was always thinking what that syringe in the FAK's were for.
    I remember back then aunts/uncles would often douse (and I mean douse) open wounds with 70% Isops. No wonder we got scars now...

    Thanks all for the info. May I pitch in another question? Would it be worth carrying a Hydrogen Peroxide?

    AcesQ Loaded Pockets

    I went to check out my local drug store - the closest thing they have is Alcohol wipes, not iodine ones.

    Mr Hahn Loaded Pockets

    Here's a few places to find the swabs and not big bottles. I get mine from the local vet because he's close to my house.

    - Grainger Industrial Supply and other industrial safety places
    - Veterinary supply companies or clinics
    - EMS / Hospital supply companies
    - AMAZON