Iodine’s role in preventing infection

Iodine’s role in preventing infection

For hundreds of years, it has been known that iodine has highly effective antiseptic properties. Betadine products contain povidone‐iodine, which was developed in the early 1950s to overcome the problem of elemental iodine and poor tolerability.1 Povidone‐iodine is a topical antiseptic which has the broad spectrum, antiseptic properties of iodine and is used to prevent infection of minor cuts, wounds and abrasions.1

Povidone‐iodine consists of elemental iodine bound to polyvinylpyrrolidone. In this chemical complex, a small amount of iodine remains free and active, while most is loosely bound and provides a reservoir to replenish the active iodine as it is used up. This is what gives povidone‐iodine its low irritant potential. Povidone‐iodine is microbicidal, meaning it effectively kills bacteria, fungi and spores. Every break in the skin carries the risk of becoming infected, which makes the Betadine antiseptics so important in first aid. The Betadine antiseptic range consists of an antiseptic liquid, spray, cream and ointment. When applied to the skin the brown colour of Betadine shows that the povidone‐iodine is active and working to kill bacteria and fungi. When the colour fades to yellow, it needs to be reapplied.1

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