prepper questions first aid kit antiseptic wipes

Prepper's Questions Answered
Answers to common questions on prepping

How to use alcohol prep pads properly
You may have alcohol prep pads in your first aid kit, but you're probably using them
improperly. Most people don't know how to use an alcohol prep pad properly,
because they don't know that what they're doing is wrong.

Alcohol prep pads have one main use. Read on to learn what it is...

How are alcohol prep swabs used?

Alcohol prep swabs or prep pads are NOT intended for open cuts or scrapes.
Sure you could use them for this purpose, but it will sting (and also not
recommended)! This is because the alcohol content is too high – typically they
contain 70% isopropyl alcohol.

While the packaging may say that it is an antiseptic, more accurately it is a
disinfectant for preparation of the skin prior to an injection. It’s not advisable to
use a prep pad on an open wound because it can cause tissue damage and
actually inhibits the healing process. The bottom line is that alcohol swabs may
sting and with deep cuts it may do more damage than good!

Here's more about how to use alcohol prep pads properly...
Generally, Alcohol Prep Pads are used for skin cleansing, applied topically before
puncture of the skin, not after. Read more about
rubbing alcohol uses.

It’s true that alcohol will kill bacteria on the skin, but it takes about 36 hours!  
Alcohol prep pads are not skin cleansers. In short, the best way to clean a wound
is by running clean water on the wound to irrigate it of dirt and germs. Adding
warm water and a mild dishwashing soap (like Ivory) is also a good idea.

So what are alcohol prep pads used for? They are ideal for diabetic testing.  They
work to minimize chance of infection as a precaution for use with needles – as an
example  for diabetics prior to testing the blood or injecting insulin or before
injection of a vaccination. The intended purpose of an alcohol prep pad is to
hygienically cleanse the skin before breaking it for an injection or to test the blood.
By cleansing the skin with an antiseptic before inserting a needle you can help
avoid infections that might otherwise be present on the skin.

They are also a good way to clean other pieces of equipment, including under the
arm thermometers or tweezers.

So if you have them and you’re not a diabetic, should you throw them out? No! The
good news for preppers is that because they contain alcohol flammable, you can
use them to help you start a fire! Yes, alcohol prep pads are a wonderful
acellerant, so put some in your bugout bag.

Did you know that those little ALCOHOL PREP SWABS in your first aid kit are NOT
intended for cleansing of open cuts or scrapes? Made of 70% isopropyl alcohol,
those little pads will sting an open wound and actually inhibit healing!

How do you use alcohol prep pads then?
* You might use them to clean the tweezers or a thermometer in your first aid kit.
* Diabetics may use them to clean the injection site prior to puncturing their skin
for testing or injecting insulin.
* Physicians and nurses use them to clean the injection site before vaccination.
* Preppers use them as fire accelerants! That's right, the alcohol content will help
you get a fire going! They burn nicely in a pinch.

What's a good alternative to prep pads, then?

In the absence of water, what's a good cleansing pad for cuts and scrapes?

  • Alcohol free wipes: Pictured left are the Dynarex BZK antispetic Towelttes.
    Antiseptic towelette for cleaning and disinfecting of cuts and scrapes.
    Prevents skin infections. Also good for perineal, maternity care and clean
    catch kits. Saturated with benzalkonium chloride solution USP 1:250. Alcohol
    free, they will not sting. Foil-packed, single-use packets, towelette measures
    5 inch by 7 inch, 100 per box.

  • PVP Iodine Wipes 100-Pack: Each pad is saturated with a 10% povidone-
    iodine solution. It’s a topical antiseptic, germicide pad for cleansing and
    disinfecting of wounds, emergency treatment of lacerations, abrasions and
    second and third degree burns.

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