It’s been a hotly debated topic in skin preparation: do skin antiseptics need to be sterile?
Most healthcare workers assume that skin antiseptics have been sterilized. The terms “sterile” or “sterilized” can be confusing.
Now, science is providing answers.
Dr. Michelle Alfa is a renowned Canadian microbiologist. She has spent her career researching and investigating ways to help improve patient care through infection prevention.
We sat down with Dr. Alfa to help us demystify these hot topics around skin antiseptics. Here’s what she had to say.
Do your skin antiseptics meet Canada’s enhanced standards? Find out.
Can antiseptic agents be sterilized?
When it comes to skin antiseptics, a common misperception is that they are sterile.
According to Dr. Alfa, the current process for sterilizing liquids uses steam, which would actually destroy the properties of the antiseptic agent.
Dr. Alfa explains more:
Why is there no requirement to have sterile antiseptics for use in healthcare?
Dr. Alfa goes on to explain that there’s a big difference between “sterile” and “sterilized.” Also, just because skin antiseptics aren’t labelled as sterile, it doesn’t imply the products are contaminated.
Dr. Alfa talks about that difference:
Understanding sterility markings on packaging.
This can be confusing when you’re trying to understand the packaging. Many skin antiseptics are, in fact, labeled “sterile.”
Dr. Alfa explains that this statement doesn’t apply to all package contents. “Sterile” can apply to applicators that have gone through a sterilization process – but it doesn’t always apply to the skin antiseptics solution inside the package.
What does this mean for you? Dr. Alfa explains:
Want to learn more about skin antiseptics?
Learn more about 3M Skin Prep.
Dr. Michelle J. Alfa is sponsored by and affiliated with 3M.