Sterile Water vs. Bacteriostatic Water: What Are the Key Differences?

Contaminated water can contain more than 100 different pathogens. Would you want this water injected directly into your body?

Many drugs or medicines require water to dissolve or dilute the product so it can be absorbed into the body when injected. This is the purpose of sterile water — a type of water free from pathogens. However, few people know about the differences between sterilized water and bacteriostatic water and the different roles they play in administering injections.

To find out more about these types of water, keep reading below.

Properties of Sterile Water

Sterile water is a type of water free from any type of microorganism, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc. Not only is it used for injections, but for research experiments as well. Microorganisms in contaminated water can interfere with the experiment and ruin the results.

A common misconception is that boiling water can create sterile water. Although boiling water for 20 minutes may kill most pathogens and be safe to drink, it would not be considered medically sterile for injection.

Additionally, distilled water is not the same as sterile water. Distilled water is created through a process of steaming and condensation, which removes most contaminants, but that does not mean it is free of all pathogens.

What Is Bacteriostatic Water?

Bacteriostatic water is a specific type of sterile water. It has a pH level between 4.5 and 7.0.

The word bacteriostat, or bacteriostatic agent, refers to a chemical or biological substance that inhibits the growth of bacteria by interfering with their reproductive process. This is commonly achieved by adding 0.9% benzyl alcohol.

Anyone with an alcohol allergy should steer clear of bacteriostatic water as an injection solvent.

Bacteriostatic vs. Sterile Water

Sterile water is processed to remove all pathogens and microorganisms. Bacteriostatic water goes one step further than this with the addition of benzyl alcohol. The alcohol, as a bacteriostatic agent, prevents the growth of bacteria.

In contrast, sterile water contains nothing preventing the growth of bacteria once it has been exposed to air. This is why some medical professionals prefer bacteriostatic water for injections. Some professionals also claim that bacteriostatic water provides better solubility for the drug or medicine.

Sterile and Bacteriostatic Similarities

Both sterile water and bacteriostatic water are used as solvents. This means they are designed to be mixed with something. For an injection, they are often mixed with a pharmaceutical drug or medicine.

Using Sterile or Bacteriostatic Water

Access to sterile water or bacteriostatic water is one of the basics of medical hygiene. Of course, all the other equipment used for injection also needs to be sterile. This includes items like needles and the injection site itself.

To find the proper mixing kits needed for injections, take a moment to browse our products.

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