Hibiclens is a brand name for an antiseptic/antimicrobial skin cleanser that defends against a variety of infections, including MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). It bonds to skin and provides protection for up to six hours. Anyone can purchase Hibiclens, and it is especially recommended for athletes and health care professionals (including Emergency Medical Services workers). It is sometimes recommended as a body wash before surgery. People with questions about using Hibiclens before surgery should talk to their physician.
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Hibiclens is an antiseptic/antimicrobial wound and general skin cleanser. The active ingredient is chlorhexidine, which has been in use as a topical disinfectant since the 1970s. Chlorhexidine is found in a variety of products, including dental mouthwashes and medical devices such as catheters. Other Hibiclens ingredients include fragrance, isopropyl alcohol, purified water and Red 40.
Potential Side Effects
Side effects of Hibiclens are uncommon and are generally mild, but could include allergic reactions such as itching or hives, swelling of the face and hands, skin rash, and redness, burning, itching or swelling in the area where Hibiclens is applied. Some skin cleansers may cause discolouration of the hands, skin or fingernails, and the medication may stain clothing.
Warnings When Using Hibiclens
Talk to your doctor before using Hibiclens if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have had an allergic reaction to an antibacterial skin cleanser in the past.
Do not get Hibiclens in your eyes or nose or on your genitals. Don't apply it in your ears, as it may cause permanent hearing damage.
Protection from MRSA
Hibiclens is special among antiseptic/antimicrobial skin cleansers because it provides protection for up to six hours after use and is not diluted by blood, water or sweat. Many high school and college athletic programs recommend that athletes use Hibiclens under reusable pads, such as knee and shoulder pads, and that they cleanse any open wounds with Hibiclens and then cover the wounds with bandages to prevent the spread of MRSA and other skin infections.
MRSA is a dangerous infection for a variety of reasons. Small sores that initially resemble spider bites or pimples can quickly turn into abscesses that require surgical intervention. Without proper treatment, MRSA can infect muscles, joints, bones, the blood, heart valves and lungs. MRSA can be fatal.
Other Uses for Hibiclens
While Hibiclens has proven effective in fighting MRSA, it also fights other types of staph infections, the flu and other viruses. It has also shown promise as an acne treatment, and many dermatologists recommend that patients with acne wash the affected areas with Hibiclens daily.
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