prepper questions first aid kit antiseptic wipes

Prepper's Questions Answered
Answers to common questions on prepping

What are alcohol prep swabs used for?
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...

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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