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Re: [IP] Alcohol as antiseptic
Janine Shea wrote:
> Since I put more stock in "Pumping Insulin" and this group than I do pretty
> much any "expert", I do not take this at necessarily true for us but would
> really like to know why alcohol is not considered to be the best option
> (and what to use in it's place).
OK, alcohol has somehow gained a reputation as a disinfectant, which is NOT
really true. To kill germs effectively (though not absolutely ALL germs)
it's necessary to soak whatever by immersion in alcohol for at least 20
minutes. Sounds more like drowning the bugs than killing them directly...
Somehow I doubt I want to do that with my hands before taking a test.
Also, the real reason alcohol is used is that in emergencies, as in ERs
anywhere, a dirty wound needs to have whatever dirt removed quickly and
efficiently without need for rinsing after use or contamination with
something else. Alcohol is fairly effective for that, it's a low grade
solvent that will dissolve many kinds of dirt and grime, and will
evaporate off fairly wel afterwards. When cleaning dirty wounds this is
But the use expanded to cleaning shot sites, basically for the same reasons,
though usually not as extreme. When you take a child into a doctors office
for a shot it's a LOT easier to wipe with alcohol and give it than it would
be to wash with soap and water, dry, and THEN shoot.
So, alcohol is not favored here because if you wash your hands to get
a blood test it's going to cause problems rather than solve them. The
rapid evaporation cools the skin, which makes getting a drop of blood
harder, though the numbing effect is helpful if taking a shot. Also the
alcohol may still be present if you're in a rush, as when suffering a
hypo and having trouble keeping going, and alcohol in the blood sample will
give a false reading. Besides which, using it day in and day out to take
bg tests gives dry skin which tends to crack and get infected, NOT what
you're looking for.
As a matter of fact there was a test run in England some years ago where
they had insulin shooting diabetics split into 2 groups: alcohol users and
non-users. There were 5 infections during the trial, and they were ALL in the
alcohol using group, with NONE among those not using alcohol. It convinced
me to give up on the stuff, and I haven't used it for 10 or 12 years, with no
infections at test or infusion (formerly shot) sites.
email @ redacted
Insulin-Pumpers website http://www.bizsystems.com/Diabetes/