ANTISEPTICS (Gr. avrl, against, and 6177rrnKor, putrefactive) , the name given to substances which are used for the prevention of bacterial development inanimal or
See also:matter . Some are true germicides, capable of destroying the bacteria, whilst others merely prevent or inhibit their growth . The antiseptic method of treating wounds (see SURGERY) was introduced by
See also:Lord Lister, and was an outcome of
See also:Pasteur's germ theory of putrefaction . For the growth of bacteria there must be a certain
See also:food supply, moisture, in most cases
See also:oxygen, and a certain minimum temperature (see
See also:BACTERIOLOGY) . These conditions have been specially studied and applied in connexion with the preserving of food (see
See also:Fool) PRESERVATION) and in the
See also:ancient practice of embalming the dead, which is the earliest
See also:illustration of the systematic use of antiseptics (see EMBALMING) . In early inquiries a
See also:great point was made of the prevention of putrefaction, and
See also:work was done in the way of. finding how much of an
See also:agent must be added to a given solution, in
See also:order that the bacteria accidentally
See also:present might not develop . But for various reasons this was an inexact method, and to-
See also:day an antiseptic is judged by its effects on pure cultures of definite pathogenic microbes, and on their vegetative and spore forms . Their standardization has been effected in many instances, and a
See also:water solution of carbolic acid of a certain fixed strength is now taken as the standard with which other antiseptics are compared . The more important of those in use to-day are carbolic acid, the perchloride and biniodide of mercury,
See also:formalin, salicylic acid, &c . Carbolic acid is germicidal in strong solution, inhibitory in weaker ones . The so-called " pure" acid is applied to infected living tissues, especially to tuberculous sinuses or wounds, after scraping them, in order to destroy any
See also:part of the tuberculous material still remaining . A solution of 1 in 20 is used to sterilize
See also:instruments before an operation, and towels or
See also:lint to be used for the patient .
Care must always be taken to avoid absorption (see CARBOLIC ACID) . The per-chloride of mercury is another very powerful antiseptic used in solutions of strength I in 2000, 1 in r000 and 1 in soo . This or the biniodide of mercury is the last antiseptic applied to the surgeon's and assistants' hands before an operation begins . They are not, however, to be used in the disinfection of instruments, nor where any large abraded
See also:surface would favour absorption . Boracic acid receives no mention here; though it is popularly known as an antiseptic, it is in reality only a soothing fluid, and bacteria will flourish comfortably in contact with it . Of the dry antiseptics iodoform is constantly used in septic or tuberculous wounds, and it appears to have an inhibitory
See also:action on Bacillus
See also:tuberculosis . Its power depends on the fact that it is slowly decomposed by the tissues, and
See also:free iodine given off . Among the more recently introduced antiseptics, chinosol, a yellow substance freely soluble in water, and Lysol, another
See also:tar derivative, are much used . But every
See also:anti-septic, however
See also:good, is more or less toxic and irritating to a ANTITHESIS wounded surface . Hence it is that the " antiseptic " method has been replaced in the surgery of to-day by the "aseptic" method (see SURGERY), which relies on keeping free from the invasion of bacteria rather than destroying them when present .
ANTIQUE (Lat. antiquus, old)
ANTISTHENES (c. 444–365 B.C.)
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