In every medical show you watch, whether it is Greys Anatomy, Scrubs or House, you may have noticed the mysterious orange substance that is applied to every patient before surgery. I bet you haven’t ever thought about how important this is to hospitals and doctors all over the world.
Betadine is just a brand name for Povidone-iodine. This substance was made in 1955 for a wide variety of medical uses. Here are just a few: Doctors scrub their hands with it before surgery, it is used as eye drops and throat rinses, it is applied on the skin before general surgery and even used in homes for cuts and scrapes. All of these uses have to do with disinfecting the skin, which is what Povidone-iodine does best. Although, the amount of concentrated Povidone-iodine changes depending on the use. For example, in the hand scrub for doctors and nurses it only consists of 7.5 percent Povidone-iodine. On the other hand the solution they apply directly before surgery consists of 10 percent.
From the name Povidone-iodine you can already conclude its chemical composition includes iodine. This is true along with a few more elements. These elements are Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen and Oxygen. Its actual molecular formula is C6H9I2NO. Scientists designed this complex chemical in hopes that they could make a substance that could effectively kill bacteria while not being toxic to the body. The way Povidone-iodine works is actually quite interesting. The iodine works as an oxidizing agent. Oxidizing agents reduce the amount of electrons in an atom making something called an iodine-ion. An iodine-ion is what forms when a molecule is oxidized. It is an electrolyte that disturbs the balance of ions in a cell. This reaction results in the death of bacteria.
This is the molecular structure of Povidone-iodine.
The discovery of Povidone-iodine was an extreme medical breakthrough. Before it was designed many people used concentrated iodine to disinfect skin, although this...
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