I was doing the dishes tonight, specifically I was scrubbing a steak knife, when I made an important scientific discovery. Apparently, I am made, mostly, of meat.
Fascinating discovery aside, as I was putting on a band-aid, I realized that I’ve had these bandaids so long that I can’t remember when I bought them, yet I still consider them “sterile”. Or at least sterile enough to go on an open wound. Yet they just sit on the shelf in a thin paper wrapper. Surely bacteria could penetrate this. Is this really sterile? Or maybe it’s sterile enough in layman’s terms? What really constitutes sterility? And just how serious should we take that in normal everyday life?
What about a fresh box of aluminum foil or wax paper? No surgeon would consider it sterile, but how would it compare to my box of years old bandaids? Boiling is an old fashioned form of sterilization, but what about a fork straight from the dish washer? What if it was hand washed? Was my steak knife sterile?
Weird topic, weird questions, but I think it’s something not well understood by many, especially when the default answer is always you can’t be too sterile so just have it autoclaved. That’s even a good answer if you’re deliberately implanting, but not much use when you’ve just steak knifed yourself.