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Alcohol or betadine?

Discussion in 'First Aid Station' started by wortgames, Jan 1, 2010.

    wortgames Empty Pockets

    I'm a big fan of alcohol, generally speaking, and I usually carry alcohol wipes with me. They can clean, sanitise, de-grease, and dry out damp skin.

    Just wondering if anyone here prefers betadine though, and if so, why?


    when I did my clinical training for my Emergency Medical Technician course (EMT), I was told not to let the smell of alcohol fool you. I was advised that betadine will steralize a wound site in 6 minutes and alcohol will do the same job in 20 minutes.

    I was told that is why surgeons and surgery patients prep with betadine. For survivalists the alcohol might assist with fire starting and having some prep pads in your kit wont hurt. They still use alcohol prep pads for a quickie clean up for IV"s and finger sticks to check sugar levels etc... ALso the alcohol will give you a severe burning sensation when cleaning a wound site. Betadine prep and cleaning pads wont. You can usually get some at your local fire rescue station free for the asking if you just tell them you are setting up a small first aid kit. You will also probably be suprised what else they offer you, tape, 4X4's, Kling wrap, ace bandages etc...

    yam350 Loaded Pockets

    For anti bacterial, Betadine, for quick little cleanups and backup fire starting alcohol.
    On my hands alcohol is no problem but on softer skin it brings me out in a rash.

    Flight-ER-Doc Loaded Pockets

    Betadine is a far better disinfectant than alcohol. The only reason alcohol is used at all (for things like injection site prep) is tradition, because it doesn't stain clothes, and because it probably doesn't really matter too much.

    wortgames Empty Pockets

    Wow, 20 minutes?! I had no idea alcohol was so slow to kill bugs. Looks like they're a bit limited when it comes to wound sanitation.

    Time to get some betadine wipes methinks.

    AcesQ Loaded Pockets

    I will still prefer Alcohol swabs because some people may be allergic to Betadine. But after reading the thread, i might be getting a few Betadine pads in my First Aid Kit.

    StorminMormon Empty Pockets

    That's an easy one: Both. I use alcohol for more day-to-day type things. But if I had a real doozy of a wound (or if someone else had a real doozy of a wound) you better believe I'm using betadine.

    hardcider75 Loaded Pockets

    I've been told that alcohol is good for cutting the "grease" that people naturally have their skin as well as the lotions, oils, etc. that they might be using. As far as a disinfectant, I've been told that it's totally useless because the pain that comes along with it far outweighs the benefit. As for Betadine, aka povidone iodine, it's the absolute best disinfectant hands down. However, there is still a risk that someone may be allergic to it. I think the statistics say that 1 person in every 100,000 is allergic to it. And do not let it touch any metal, because it will quickly form a bond and turn the metal brown.
    • In Omnia Paratus

    kirbysdl Loaded Pockets

    A search on this forum and elsewhere will tell you alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and benzalkonium chloride (common antibacterial agent found in alcohol-free hand sanitizers and wipes) can all damage tissue and slow recovery.  Water/saline seems to be the least harmful/most trusted at cleaning out wounds, and betadine the least harmful/most trusted antibacterial solution to use afterward (allergies aside).

    For those considering wipes, you may also consider pre-loaded swabs (q-tips).  A key benefit is the ability to more accurately apply it to a small area without getting stains everywhere.  Bigger problems require bigger solutions, but I'm a layman so I go to a pro for anything more serious than what I can easily handle.  Mine are branded Swabs Plus, but it seems to have limited availability so YMMV.

    More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiseptic#Some_common_antiseptics

    johnnytest Loaded Pockets

    alcohol and betadine kill bugs in about the same time--minutes. We now use alcohol at the prep sinks instead of soap and water for hand washing.

    The 20 minutes thing is wrong.
    • In Omnia Paratus

    kirbysdl Loaded Pockets

    It might be good to consider the different use cases and then find products that fit one or more: sometimes you want to prep the skin (for an injection, or to disinfect before/after providing first aid).  Other times you want to clean out a wound and try to prevent infection.  There seem to be more products that can be used in the first case than the second, because in the second case you're dealing with broken skin and therefore stricter requirements. 

    (2 cents for clarification; it seems we're talking about different things here.)

    monkeysfistmaker Loaded Pockets

    Ok, first of all, isopropyl alcohol doubles as an estrengent, which is good to have with you if you need it. Second, in a medical dictionary that I have, Concise to be precise, it sais that alcohol is better for KILLING bacterial bodies 99.99 percent of them, while betadine is better for preventing pathogens from coming around the area. There is simple chemistry to this. Isopropyl alcohol has a higher vaporization rate, due to it's lack of hydrogen bonding, therefore, it quickly leaves the skin. This is completely opposite for betadine. There are just so many things to consider when talking about this. Are you trying to prevent or kill pathogens? Are you performing open surgery, a suture, or simply "touching up" an old wound or simple scrape. Most infections set in within twenty-four to fourty-eight hours of "basal exposure", that is, the moment that these pathogens reach abnormal levels in your body. Also take into consideration the fact that some people are allergic to it, but this shouldn't really even be considered, due to the fact that the most sever reaction to it that they would have would be irritation. And, that is somewhat hard to differentiate when you have an open wound that is throbbing already. :lolhammer: Also, it is somewhat important to decide in which form you are going to be using this betadine solution. Is it going to be in liquid form that you find in bottles, or in pre-packaged packages? The BEST thing to use for wounds in general, is iodine itself, though, this could be VERY dangerous, even poisonous. Iodine and betadine (provadone iodine) are two totally different things. The fist I don't think should even be used, unless you are an Md or other medical professional. For some reason, it is very common to have people that are allergic to iodine, to be allergic seafood as well. So, if you HAVE to use iodine, ask them if they are allergic to seafood. Likely hood is, is that if they're allergic to one, they are allergic to the other.

    (this is another good reason why you should ALWAYS carry anti-histamines with you at all times)

    Flight-ER-Doc Loaded Pockets

    People rarely need an astringent. And your medical dictionary is giving you bad information. Try a serious research tool: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=antiseptic efficacy&as_sdt=2001&as_ylo=2005&as_vis=0

    Two money quotes:



    Alcohol is such a bad choice that it isn't even usually tested....why waste time?

    Rawls Loaded Pockets

    As a criminal defense lawyer I feel it necessary to give out this tip to all of the LEOs and EMTs in the forum reading this thread: lawyers can challenge both the weight and admissibility of a blood draw done after an alcohol wipe in DWI cases. In my state, the Supreme Court just restricted that rule making the alcohol wipe a weight-only challenge. Laws will vary from state to state.

    What does this mean? In some cases use of an alcohol wipe for a blood draw will bar entirely the use of the results (a draw after an alcohol wipe is unusable). In some cases use of an alcohol wipe for a blood draw will allow the defense lawyer to challenge the results (they come in, but they can be disputed).

    Just an inside tip.

    I hope I never have to cross someone from this forum.

    Champ2010 Banned

    Prepping the skin for an injection should be just as important as disinfecting before/after providing first aid. After all, that injection is going to cause a puncture wound. There is a new product on the block called SHBAN. Its main active ingredient is 5% povidone-iodine; however, due to a special trade secret formula the yukky-brownish red iodine color has been neutralized. The SHBAN goes on as clear and clean as alcohol, but the SHBAN is 1,000 times longer lasting than the alcohol.

    Ghillieman7 Empty Pockets

    Same here. If only someone could invent clear betadine.

    Champ2010 Banned


    To answer your comment !

    Clear Povidone-Iodine solution has been invented and patented. It is called SHBAN !


    Flight-ER-Doc Loaded Pockets

    And it's not FDA approved, so it's not a medical product.... Thanks, but no thanks. No evidence on how effective it is?

    Champ2010 Banned

    You are in error. It is a drug and falls under the FDA monograph exemption as a grandfathered
    product! It is proven and was invented by the former Merck & Co head scientist with over
    19 patents to his name and over 12 published medical studies, Dr. Ed Cragoe.

    Independent clinical tests have proven SHBAN kills H1N1, H5N1, eColi, staph, etc.

    AcesQ Loaded Pockets

    I'm getting a little confuse - So in conclusion, which is better for killing bacteria on wounds? I'd been using alcohol pads for many times and i dont find a problem with it. There are so many opinions in this thread, so... which is better??