(1) Benzalkonium chloride solution is supplied in a 10 percent concentration
that must be diluted to the proper concentration before it is used. To make a 1:1000
solution, 10 ml of the drug is combined with enough water to make 1 liter of solution.
(2) Benzalkonium chloride tincture is supplied tinted, so that it is readily
identified as containing alcohol. It is available in both 10-ml and 2-ml bottles with
applicator tip, in a 1:1000 concentration.
a. Action and Uses. Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic agent that is used as a
mouthwash, as a germicide, and as a mechanical cleansing agent for wounds. The
antiseptic action of hydrogen peroxide is produced by the release of oxygen when the
drug is applied to a wound. The drug is an effective antiseptic only as long as oxygen is
being released. The bubbling, effervescent action of oxygen affords a mechanical
means for the removal of debris from a wound. Particles of dirt and dead skin are
brought to the surface of the wound and allowed to be washed away. Such mechanical
cleansing is thought to be more valuable than the antiseptic action. Medicinal hydrogen
peroxide contains 3 percent hydrogen peroxide in water.
(1) It is dangerous to use hydrogen peroxide in wounds or in body cavities
from which the released oxygen cannot freely escape.
(2) Care must be taken to use only medicinal (3 percent) peroxide.
Bleaching peroxide, used for the hair, is a 20 percent solution and will cause irritation if
used for medicinal purposes. (Bleaching peroxide is not a standard item, but it may be
available at some installations.)
(3) Hydrogen peroxide should be stored in tight, light-resistant containers to
c. Supply. Hydrogen peroxide solution is available in a 3 percent concentration.
It is packaged in one-pound (pint) bottles.
HEXACHLOROPHENE (SURGICAL DETERGENT AND SURGICAL SOAP)
a. Action and Uses. Hexachlorophene is the active ingredient of surgical soap
and surgical detergent (pHisoHex). Surgical detergent cleanses the skin, and
hexachlorophene is effective against staphylococci and other gram-positive bacteria.
Cumulative antibacterial effect develops with continued use. Surgical detergent is
indicated for use as a surgical scrub and a bacteriostatic skin cleanser. It is often used
for preoperative cleansing of clients. It may be used to control an outbreak of gram