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ChaChaHeels
09-03-2005, 12:49 PM
Hi everyone! This is a pretty simple question that I figured one of you would probably know the answer to.

I know that to sterilize a needle you are supposed to hold it in a flame for x amount of time but I was wondering, couldn't you just soak the needle in rubbing alcohol for say a minute and have the same effect? Thanks.

Cyn
09-03-2005, 01:00 PM
a minute isn't long enough----clean obvious debris off, drop it in alcohol and walk away, return in 15.

Si Amigo
09-03-2005, 01:01 PM
I've only seen junkies use the flame sterilazation method. I beleive that most needles for human use are one time throw aways. Perhaps that big assed needle that the dentist uses is what you are asking about. That one has a big enough hole that alcohol could get up into a sterilize. I think most of the smaller ones couldn't be re-sterilized without heat because the hole is too small for the alcohol to get up into it with it being physically drawn thru it.

FlyingRamenMonster
09-03-2005, 01:02 PM
I'm not an expert on these things but I know that to *really* sterilise stuff you need to stick it in an autoclave for a few minutes at a couple hundred degrees. The fire thing is imprecise and not all that reliable and probably shouldn't be used unless you have to. And rubbing alcohol probably would do the job about as well, yes. The only difference I can think of is that the fire would burn off anything stuck to the needle.

... but if we're talking medical needles here, then they shouldn't have anything stuck to them in the first place.

ChaChaHeels
09-03-2005, 01:04 PM
I should have clarified--I meant a sewing needle! :smack:

Ike Witt
09-03-2005, 01:17 PM
Now, I am confused. Why would you need to sterilize a sewing needle?

Q.E.D.
09-03-2005, 01:20 PM
Now, I am confused. Why would you need to sterilize a sewing needle?
For removing embedded splinters.

ChaChaHeels
09-03-2005, 01:21 PM
For when you have a splinter that tweezers can't get to. I know its a boring reason but who knows maybe a pimple story will turn up later. :D


Cyn, 15 minutes? Wow, I always figured that it would only take about as long as a hand washing to sterlize it because its not like the alcohol could soak in. I'm learning a lot already!

Si Amigo
09-03-2005, 01:22 PM
Or pop a boil.

Smeghead
09-03-2005, 03:55 PM
Cyn, 15 minutes? Wow, I always figured that it would only take about as long as a hand washing to sterlize it because its not like the alcohol could soak in. I'm learning a lot already!
No, it doesn't soak in, but it does take a few minutes for any germs to die. It's not instantaneous.

Yeah
09-03-2005, 04:06 PM
Or pop a boil.

A boil is typically full of bacteria and white blood cells. Whether or not the needle that pops it has a few bacteria on it or not is probably not real important.

Jake
09-03-2005, 04:51 PM
Smeghead, a slight hijack, but I add a (tiny) amount of bleach to my dishwater in the sink.
Doesn't the bleach kill the no-see-ums instantly? Or am I wasting bleach.

(Damn if my spelling of "bleach" sounds incorrect! Sounds more like someone barfing)

USCDiver
09-03-2005, 05:03 PM
A boil is typically full of bacteria and white blood cells. Whether or not the needle that pops it has a few bacteria on it or not is probably not real important.

Likewise, you have a dirty piece of wood stuck in your skin, having a sterile needle isn't necessary. Clean is preferred to dirty, so rub it with some alcohol soaked cotton balls or something. Don't use fire, it leaves soot on the needle.

ChaChaHeels
09-03-2005, 05:08 PM
So i'm just a germaphobe? I can answer that myself, yes, yes I am.

Smeghead
09-03-2005, 07:00 PM
Smeghead, a slight hijack, but I add a (tiny) amount of bleach to my dishwater in the sink.
Doesn't the bleach kill the no-see-ums instantly? Or am I wasting bleach.


I'd give it two or three minutes to work.

Green Bean
09-03-2005, 09:13 PM
For when you have a splinter that tweezers can't get to. I know its a boring reason but who knows maybe a pimple story will turn up later. :D
Uh, I think you'll fit in quite nicely here.

Here's one of our SDMB classics, for your enjoyment: Favorite Pimple Stories (Maybe TMI) (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=106449)

Rhubarb
09-04-2005, 02:20 AM
Alchohol does not sterilize, it disinfects. There are bacteria that can live in alchohol (pseudamonas for one). A quick home sterilization method is to drop the item in boiling water for a few minutes. You should also disinfect the splinter site with alchohol or betadine before and after your little surgery and apply an antibiotic ointment afterwards. Also, IANAD, just a dad. I've also never done any of those things on my own splinters or my children's and we are all still quite healthy.

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