General Practice 2022

Sódio hypochlorite: what é, what it is for and how to use it

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Sódio hypochlorite: what é, what it is for and how to use it
Sódio hypochlorite: what é, what it is for and how to use it

Sodium hypochlorite, popularly known as bleach or bleach, is a substance with disinfectant action indicated for deep cleaning and disinfection of surfaces, for washing fruits, vegetables or vegetables, purifying water for human consumption or killing larvae of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits dengue, Zika and Chikungunya, for example.

Generally, sodium hypochlorite is found in pharmacies or supermarkets in the form of a solution up to 2.5%, and it is important to properly dilute the product in water before use to reach a concentration of 0.05 to 1%, and thus be effective to fight bacteria, viruses or parasites that can cause diseases such as diarrhea, hepatitis A, cholera, rotavirus or COVID-19, for example.

In addition, sodium hypochlorite can also be found in the form of tablets that can be used to purify water, but attention should be paid to the instructions for the type of sodium hypochlorite that is sold, because there is also hypochlorite sold as s alt, solutions or in tablets that are used to purify cisterns, wells and to treat swimming pools. In these situations, the concentration of the substance is much higher and can cause he alth problems.

What is it for

Sodium hypochlorite is used to clean surfaces, whiten white clothes, wash vegetables and also purify water for human consumption, reducing the chances of contamination by viruses, parasites and bacteria, which cause diseases such as diarrhea, COVID-19, hepatitis A, cholera or rotavirus. See what diseases can arise after drinking contaminated water.

How to use sodium hypochlorite

The way to use sodium hypochlorite varies according to the purpose of its use:

1. Purify water

To purify water for human consumption, it is recommended to put 2 to 4 drops of sodium hypochlorite of concentration 2 to 2.5%, for every 1 liter of water. This solution should be kept inside a non-transparent container, such as a clay pot or thermos bottle, for example.

It is important to keep the container covered and wait 30 minutes after dripping the drops to consume the water. This time is necessary for the disinfectant to take effect, eliminating all microorganisms. Sodium hypochlorite purified water is used for drinking, cooking, washing vegetables, fruits and vegetables, washing dishes and bathing.

2. Disinfect surfaces

To disinfect surfaces and eliminate viruses and bacteria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends mixing 4 teaspoons of sodium hypochlorite (equivalent to 1 tablespoon), for every 1 liter of water to use.This water must then be used to disinfect surfaces such as counters, tables or the floor, for example.

In the case of COVID-19, it is recommended to prepare a 0.05 to 0.1% hypochlorite solution for cleaning surfaces, adding 50 mL of 2 to 2.5% sodium hypochlorite in 1 liter of water. Place the prepared solution in a dark spray bottle, for example, and spray on surfaces such as doorknobs, keys, motorcycle helmets, food packaging or shoe soles, for example, leaving it on for at least 1 minute.

This sodium hypochlorite solution for COVID-19 should only be used for 24 hours, and another solution must be prepared daily, as the hypochlorite will lose its potency and may not have the expected effect.

The hypochlorite solution can help clean surfaces, however, it is also important to adopt safety measures to prevent COVID-19 infection, such as wearing a mask, using alcohol gel on your hands often and keeping the environments ventilated., for example.See all measures to prevent COVID-19 infection.

3. Wash vegetables and fruits

To wash vegetables and fruits, add 1 tablespoon (soup) of 2 to 2.5% sodium hypochlorite for every 1 liter of water and leave the vegetables and fruits with peel, soak for about 15 minutes.

Next, rinse the vegetables and fruits in filtered water. See other tips for washing vegetables and fruits correctly.

4. Eliminate larvae of Aedes aegypti

To eliminate the larvae of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, 2 to 2.5% pure hypochlorite can be used or diluted in water, using 10 mL of hypochlorite for every 1 liter of water.

Pure or diluted sodium hypochlorite can be used in plant pots or sprayed on plant leaves, drains or toilet water, for example.

It is important to note that this solution helps to eliminate the Aedes aegypti larvae and not the mosquito, and it is important to adopt other measures to combat the mosquito. See what to do to avoid the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Caution when handling sodium hypochlorite

When using sodium hypochlorite, it is very important to avoid direct contact with the substance, because it has a corrosive action, which can cause burns to the skin and eyes, when in large concentrations, and is therefore advised the use of gloves.

What happens if you use sodium hypochlorite the wrong way

If sodium hypochlorite is accidentally used in doses above the recommended, the exposed area should be washed immediately with running water and observed for symptoms such as itching and redness. When exaggerated doses of this substance are ingested, symptoms of poisoning such as the urge to vomit, coughing and difficulty breathing may occur, requiring urgent medical attention.

However, when sodium hypochlorite is used within the recommendations, it is safe for he alth and treated water can even be offered to babies and children. In case of doubt, in the case of children, it is recommended to offer mineral water properly sealed.

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