Friday, October 11, 2013

How Does That Work?

I am a big fan of trying to look into how traditional and commonly suggested treatments work.

Today's thought process was on Blu-Kote.  Once again, on a local horse group on facebook someone was asking for suggestions on how to treat a medical condition without actually asking a veterinarian for advice.  Blu-Kote was one suggestion.

Now I've actually used Blu-Kote in the past, so today's homework was to go look and see what's in it.  The manufacturer's website wasn't particularly helpful, so off to search some of the databases.


Active Ingredients

% W/W
Isopropyl Alcohol
Sodium Propionate
Gentian Violet

How does this work?  Isopropyl alcohol denatures proteins and destabilizes cell walls via destroying lipids [for the non geeks: it destroys building blocks of various germs.  Not 100% though].  Useful for application involving fungi, bacteria, and viruses.  However, it's not bullet proof.  Generally, it's used in concentrations around 70% in a microbiological application.  The surface needs to be allowed to air dry and it can be harsh on the skin.  Probably a good reason why we don't go rolling around in rubbing alcohol each day.  But also think on how that loving phlebotomist wipes your arm with rubbing alcohol [isopropanol] before pulling blood.  The idea behind this is to remove the bacteria living on your skin before injecting a needle through the skin into the bloodstream. 

Urea is a waste byproduct in urine typically, but is often used in fertilizer applications.  I am assuming, but not certain that in this situation that is used to try and pull protons from bacteria present to disrupt activity. 

Sodium Propionate is a common food additive.  Just check out your packaged bread products or lunch meat.  It's effective against molds and some bacteria.  

Genetian violet also kills some fungi and bacteria and is a historic treatment for issues.  Anyone ever stain bacteria in a science class?  It's that purple stuff that stains all over yourself.  Occasionally useful, but primarily considered outdated.

Acriflavine is another antiseptic that kills some fungi/bacteria like genetian violet.  It's orange in color and was also used historically. 

So there you go.  Ever wonder what's in Blu-Kote?  

Mostly a mix of alcohol with a very low dosage of antiseptics.  So while it may work in some circumstances, I am leaning towards the opinion of directly treating with an antibacterial/antifungal mixture which can be done cheaply and easily through picking up items OTC at a drug store after a thorough scrub with chlorhexidine or betadine. 

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