Alcohol swabs are gauze swabs that are saturated with 70% isopropyl alcohol and are used to disinfect cuts, scrapes and intact skin. The alcohol swabs usually are prepackaged so that alcohol doesn’t evaporate on exposure to the environment and retains its properties when it has to be used. Alcohol swabs are used to make sure the skin, cut or scrape is free of contamination which could lead to potential infections. These alcohol swabs are used in clinics, nursing homes, hospitals, vaccination set ups and first aid kits to quickly and efficiently disinfect the area to be treated. Alcohol swabs are for external use only and are usually disposable.
The swab is usually applied to the skin in one direction and the area is then allowed to dry before injecting a medicine, vaccination or drawing blood.
Mechanism of action
As the alcohol dries, it desiccates the cell wall of the bacteria and hence the bacteria are killed. Do not wipe the area with something to dry it instead of letting it air dry, as the evaporating action would cease and the swab won’t be as effective.
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