Alcohols: Knowledge production with emphasis on the activity antimicrobial
Álcoois: A produção do conhecimento com ênfase na sua atividade antimicrobiana
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Alcohols are frequently used as antimicrobial chemical products in health care. This study has the purpose to analyze the national and international scientific production concerning the use of alcohol for the decontamination of instruments and surfaces as well as in skin antisepsis. By means of a literature review, we searched for the consensus of specialists in order to help health care professionals in the decision-making process by discouraging the practice based on tradition or opinions lacking a scientific basis. The survey conducted for the last ten years shows a high number of studies concerning the use of alcohols on hands microbiota and scarce investment associated with other applications for the product. With regard to the frequent use of alcohols, there is a consensus in scientific literature as to the optimal level of antiseptic activity occurring in the concentration of 70% p/v. In spite of the diversity of microbiological tests which enable the evaluation of antimicrobial activity against a variety of microorganisms under different conditions, it is possible to deduce important contributions to guide the safe use of alcohols from the analyzed studies.