and mixtures of these. Minimal contact times should be at least 15 s on skin areas with few sebaceous glands and at least 10 min on sebaceous gland-rich ones.

Mucosal disinfection: Germ counts can be reduced by PVP iodine or chlor-hexidine (contact time 2 min), although not as effectively as on skin.

Wound disinfection can be achieved with hydrogen peroxide (0.3%-1% solution; short, foaming action on contact with blood and thus wound cleansing) or with potassium permanganate (0.0015% solution, slightly astringent), as well as PVP iodine, chlorhexidine, and biguanidines.

Hygienic and surgical hand disinfection: The former is required after a suspected contamination, the latter before surgical procedures. Alcohols, mixtures of alcohols and phenols, cationic surfactants, or acids are available for this purpose. Admixture of other agents prolongs duration of action and reduces flammability.

Disinfection of instruments: Instruments that cannot be heat- or steam-sterilized can be precleaned and then disinfected with aldehydes and detergents.

Surface (floor) disinfection employs aldehydes combined with cationic surfactants and oxidants or, more rarely, acidic or alkalizing agents.

Room disinfection: room air and surfaces can be disinfected by spraying or vaporizing of aldehydes, provided that germs are freely accessible.

Skin "disinfection." Reduction of germ counts prior to punctures or surgical procedures is desirable if the risk of wound infection is to be minimized. Useful agents include: alcohols (1- and 2-propanol; ethanol 60-90%; iodine-releasing agents like polyvinylpyrrolidone [povidone, PVP]-iodine as a depot form of the active principle iodine, instead of iodine tincture), cationic surfactants, Lullmann, Color Atlas of Pharmacology © 2000 Thieme All rights reserved. Usage subject to terms and conditions of license.

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