Hydrogen peroxide, chemically represented as H2O2, is the simplest of all peroxides, and comes with strong oxidizing properties. It appears as a clear liquid in its natural state, looks colorless when diluted, and holds more viscosity in comparison to water. Hydrogen peroxide solutions typically found in homes come with low concentrations, and the use of high concentration solutions requires utmost care.
Given its oxidizing properties, this compound is commonly used as a cleansing or bleaching agent, and this would involve the use of high concentration solutions. Here are some common applications of hydrogen peroxide when it comes to using it as a cleansing agent.
- Cleaning/disinfecting table tops and counter tops
- Disinfecting wooden chopping boards
- Using it as a vegetable wash can help neutralize chemicals and kill bacteria
In the field of healthcare, it is commonly used to clean minor cuts and injuries, for oral care, to help with genital herpes, etc. A diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide can be used as a mouthwash to whiten teeth, and to keep the oral cavity germ free, although the solution should not be swallowed. When it comes to cleaning cuts or minor injuries, a diluted solution can be poured directly over the wound, or it can also be dabbed on using a ball of cotton. The solution can be seen bubbling for a little while, which stops automatically.
Why does it Bubble?
The foaming or bubbling of hydrogen peroxide when it comes in contact with our skin is because of an enzyme called catalase which is found in nearly all living creatures. When exposed to a cut, and abrasion, or a lesion, in an area that contains damaged cells or blood, hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with catalase. This leads to a reaction wherein the catalase turns the hydrogen peroxide in water and oxygen at an extremely rapid pace (up to a million molecules per second), and this results in the foaming/bubbling.
Hydrogen Peroxide for Herpes:
While a typical genital herpes outbreak can last for around a week to ten days, using hydrogen peroxide to address the condition is believed to reduce the duration considerably (wherein signs can clear up in as little as 2 – 3 days). How it works is by depending on the effects that singlet oxygen has on our bodies, given that singlet oxygen can decelerate the growth of anaerobic organisms likes viruses and bacteria, and even kill them.
Hydrogen peroxide, in different forms, can help in dealing with genital herpes. A low concentration hydrogen peroxide solution can be applied directly onto the affected area, and this can be done using a cotton ball, up to thrice a day. Taking a long bath, wherein the bath water is infused with hydrogen peroxide, can help; and so can using hydrogen peroxide based topical creams. It’s noted that when used on a blister, there is a good chance of it not developing into a full blown sore.
Anti Hydrogen Peroxide Talk:
What you should know is that while hydrogen peroxide is quite well known for its antibacterial properties, there is a lot of talk about how its beneficial effects are being hyped-down because it can have an adverse affect on the pharmaceutical industry (it does offer a very cheap solution to many problems). Evidence pointing either way, however, remains inconclusive.
Whether you give this method to a shot or not, therefore, is quite up to you, although ensure that you stick to using low concentration alternatives, and in the event of the slightest discomfort or any other problem, heading to your doctor should be the way to go.