Peroxide of Hydrogen.

Syn.—Hydrogen dioxide, oxygenated water.

A colorless liquid of a specific gravity of 1.40. Will give off oxygen at 60 degrees F., and it is explosive at a higher degree of heat; setting free oxygen gas and resolving itself into water again. It has a slightly acid reaction. Should be kept cool and not too tightly corked. On account of presence of extra atom of oxygen it is a powerful oxidizer; therefore an active deodorant, antifermentive, destroying all products of fermentation. Will destroy disease germs when brought in contact with sores of any kind. It causes coagulation of albumen and evolves gas when applied locally. For this reason it should not be used in cavities with small openings, which prevent the escape of the gas; the pressure of the resulting gas in such cases would damage and destroy tissue. It is a very useful antiseptic. We think of it to clean wounds, ulcers, abscesses, etc. However these should be afterwards washed well, as it has some irritating qualities. As a gargle it is useful in sore throat; in which case it should be diluted to, say 1 part peroxide of hydrogen to 3 parts of water. In diphtheria it may be applied pure until membrane is removed. In applying it in diphtheria the physician should have a towel or handkerchief saturated with a little formaldehyde, carbolic acid or other germicide tied over his. mouth and nose to prevent contagion. In infective diseases of the intestinal tract an enema of a 10% solution is very useful. May be taken internally in doses of from 5 to 15 drops well diluted to prevent fermentation in the stomach. We also think of it in many skin diseases as a cleansing application to be followed by proper dressing. In all these conditions hydrozone is preferable, being more powerful and at the same time less irritating. Hydrozone contains about 27 volumes of oxygen in place of 16 as peroxide of hydrogen does.

The Materia Medica and Clinical Therapeutics, 1905, was written by Fred J. Petersen, M.D.