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Classification, Purchase, Use and Storage Methods of Cotton Swabs

Classification, Purchase, Use and Storage Methods of Cotton Swabs

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Cotton swabs are a household staple, and many people buy their own to apply potions, clean ear canals, and more. However, the use of cotton swabs is very particular. Improper use will make the wound more serious and damage your health.


Ⅰ. Classification of cotton swabs


Cotton swabs are divided into two types: sterile cotton swabs and non-sterile cotton swabs. Sterile cotton swabs are cotton swabs that have been sterilized; non-sterile cotton swabs are cotton swabs that have not been sterilized. Some medical institutions will purchase non-sterile cotton swabs for disinfection and sterilization before use. Non-sterile cotton swabs that ordinary consumers buy from pharmacies can be used to clean the skin, but not to treat wounds. If non-sterile cotton swabs are used directly to treat wounds, it is likely to cause wound infection and not heal.


Sterile cotton swabs are generally used to directly contact patient wounds, and have relatively high requirements for sterilization. In addition, sterile cotton swabs have very high requirements on raw materials. Cotton swab heads must use absorbent cotton that meets national standards. The quality requirements of the rods are also very high. Whether it is a plastic rod, a paper rod or a wooden rod, it must be able to withstand a certain external force without deformation or breaking.


Ⅱ. How to choose cotton swabs?


Cotton swabs should be purchased in regular hospitals or pharmacies. Pay attention to the cotton material, color, etc., and ensure that the packaging is sealed and pay attention to the production date.


Generally speaking, in addition to the words "Medical Cotton Swabs" printed on the outer packaging of sterile environmental cotton swabs, the words "Sterile Grade" and "Sterilization Method" are also printed. The outer packaging of non-sterile cotton swabs is only printed with the words "medical cotton swabs" or "cotton swabs".


When purchasing cotton swabs, it is also necessary to check whether the packaging bag is complete. If the surface of the packaging bag is not smooth and flat, but has bumps and grains, it indicates that the cotton swab has been squeezed strongly, which means that the packaging bag may have been slightly damaged, and the cotton swab may have been contaminated by bacteria. In addition, some sterile swabs are sealed in a plastic bag. This cotton swab is usually sterilized by ethylene oxide gas and has a shelf life of 2 to 3 years. When purchasing this sterile cotton swab, be sure to check its production date and shelf life.


Ⅲ. Use of cotton swabs


1. Sterile cotton swabs must be used to treat wounds


Some people think that anyway, cotton swabs should be dipped in alcohol, iodophor and other disinfectants, and a little bacteria is not a problem. As everyone knows, disinfection and sterilization are two different concepts. Disinfection is to kill pathogenic microorganisms on objects, and sterilization is to completely kill all pathogenic and non-pathogenic microorganisms on objects, including spores. Sterilization includes disinfection, and disinfection cannot replace sterilization. That is to say, although alcohol, iodophor and other disinfectants can kill pathogenic microorganisms, if the cotton swab is not sterile, but contains microorganisms such as spores, the disinfectant will have nothing to do with it, and even the disinfectant will be contaminated. Therefore, ensuring the sterility of ecological cotton swabs is an important measure to prevent infection. It should be noted that even sterile cotton swabs are "sterilized" as soon as the bag is opened, and should be thrown away after 12 hours. When purchasing, you should purchase appropriate packaging specifications based on your usage.


2. Do not use cotton swabs to pick ears


Self-cleaning with cotton swabs or other tools is not recommended. It is a very dangerous behavior to use tools such as cotton swabs to pick ears, which may injure the ear canal and cause infection. If you feel that there is too much earwax, you should go to the ENT department of the hospital and ask the doctor to clean it up.


Ⅳ. The storage method of cotton swabs


When storing environmentally friendly cotton swabs, ensure that the packaging is airtight, and also note that the cotton swabs should be stored in a room with a relative humidity of no more than 80%, no corrosive gases, and good ventilation to avoid high temperatures.


There are many cotton swabs that are wrapped in double-layered paper. The shelf life of this cotton swab is generally 2 weeks in an unopened state. However, in humid areas in the south or during the rainy season, the paper is prone to moisture and bacteria will penetrate into the packaging. Therefore, the shelf life of cotton swabs is likely to be only about 1 week at this time. There are not many cotton swabs used by ordinary families, and there is no condition to re-sterilize the remaining cotton swabs 12 hours after opening. Therefore, it is recommended to use expired cotton swabs as ordinary cosmetic cotton swabs, or discard them directly, and do not use them for wound treatment.

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