Q:

How do antiseptics kill bacteria?

A:

Quick Answer

According to the American Society of Microbiology, antiseptics work by changing the pH of the environment of bacteria, making the environment inhabitable. Since microorganisms adapt to their environments, antiseptics have to work quickly to kill off the bacteria before it has a chance to adapt.

Know More
How do antiseptics kill bacteria?
Credit: BSIP/UIG Universal Images Group Getty Images

Full Answer

The body is able to naturally fight off most types of bacteria. In fact, it is exposure to bacteria that helps the body build up a resistance to it. Studies indicate that the use of antibiotics, antiseptics and other germ-killing products on children are a strong contributor to the development of allergies later on in life.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, one of the largest concerns in the medical field is a group of microorganisms that build up a resistance to antiseptics and antibiotics. Due to the rapid rate of mutation and proliferation times, there is concern that a very small colony of bacteria that is resistant to antiseptics and antibiotic has the potential to become a large colony quickly. Bacteria such as this is likely to give rise to a new form of pathogen that possesses a natural resistance to modern medicine. This works much in the same way as a person only taking half of his antibiotics, giving rise to what scientists and doctors call super-bacteria, which have grown resistant to the antibiotics.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    How do antibiotics work?

    A:

    Antibiotics work by inhibiting the growth and reproduction of bacteria in the human body. According to HowStuffWorks, antibiotic agents work by penetrating the cell walls of bacteria and either inhibiting their DNA repair mechanisms, interfering with their ability to manufacture their own proteins or killing them outright.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some common antiseptics?

    A:

    Common antiseptics include alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, benzalkonium chloride, iodine and boric acid. Alcohol, ranging in strength from 60 to 90 percent, is used to disinfect skin before certain medical procedures. Hydrogen peroxide, a common household antiseptic, also cleans and deodorizes wounds. Benzalkonium chloride is found in many first-aid sprays.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some examples of antiseptics?

    A:

    Antiseptics are applied to the skin to reduce the possibility of infection. Common antiseptics include rubbing alcohol, boric acid, hydrogen peroxide and iodine. Commonly used in antiseptic towels, a family of substances known as quaternary ammonium compounds are also considered antiseptics. Examples are benzalkonium chloride and chlorhexidine.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How does boric acid help with pink eye?

    A:

    Boric acid has both antiseptic and cleansing properties, making it an effective eyewash to use in treating conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. According to Reference.com, in addition to treating the bacteria that cause conjunctivitis, boric acid soothes inflammation of the eyes.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore