Why does it sting when antiseptic/antibacterial solutions touch an open flesh wound?

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Why does it sting when antiseptic/antibacterial solutions touch an open flesh wound?

In: Biology

Antiseptic solutions are poisons. They kill any living cell. It does not matter if it is bacteria or human cells. It is fine to use on your skin as your outermost layer of skin is already dead and will not be affected by the solution. However if you pour it into an open wound it will start killing off the cells within your wound. When your cells dies they trigger the pain receptors of your nerve system which makes it hurt so that you know not to do that.

They’re mostly alcohol based (usually isopropyl, not ethanol, so DO NOT DRINK). Isopropyl alcohol literally kills living cells (that’s why we use it as an antimicrobial) when human cells die, their neighboring nerve cells release a signal to the rest of the body, which we call “pain”

Across the body there are specific receptors that send a message to the brain when they encounter heat. Alcohol lowers the temperature at which they fire the signal, so that’s why you have a ‘burning’ sensation when put antiseptic (containing alcohol) on an open wound, and why you can get a similar sensation if you drink neat alcoholic spirts. Search for “ethanol VR1 receptor” if you want more in depth info.

Nothing to do with cells dying as is being suggested by others.