Surgical Spirit is a clear, colourless liquid with a distinctive odour and is prepared from a special Denatured Alcohol solution. In the United Kingdom, Surgical Spirit is an Ethyl Alcohol-Methyl Alcohol mixture. It is sometimes referred to as 'Rubbing Alcohol'. Surgical Spirit is sometimes coloured by manufacturers.
Surgical Spirit is widely used as a topical preparation for cooling, soothing or hardening the skin in a wide variety of applications such as in hospitals, in the welding industry, by some musicians and by those who enjoy hill walking.
Surgical Spirit is used for its antiseptic properties in cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and in treating minor cuts and abrasions. Surgical Spirit is used by surgeons to cleanse their hands and instruments before surgery. It is also widely used to wipe the skin before injections are given. Surgical Spirit helps to prevent bed sores in bedridden patients.
Surgical Spirit dries and hardens skin. It is used in the welding industry to remove traces of oil from surfaces before welding. Guitarists sometimes use Surgical Spirit on their fingertips to harden the skin so that playing does not hurt their fingers. Sometimes hill walkers and hikers use Surgical Spirit to harden the skin on their feet when walking. Some proprietary brands of Surgical Spirit contain oils such as castor oil to help prevent cracking and dryness.
Although Surgical Spirit is widely available for use by the public, consideration should be given to its potential hazards. Surgical Spirit is a highly volatile and flammable liquid and should be stored away from sources of heat, sources of ignition and sparks. Always read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) provided by the supplier before using Surgical Spirit. Wear appropriate protective clothing when handling Surgical Spirit including approved eye protection, protective footwear, protective clothing and compatible gloves.
Always work in a well-ventilated area when handling Surgical Spirit, never in a confined space. Surgical Spirit should only be handled by competent persons. Keep Surgical Spirit away from children and animals. Surgical Spirit is harmful by inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed.
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