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When Blood Meets Hydrogen Peroxide, Things Can Get Messy

MARCH 15, 2016  —  By Mike Cahill  
Mike Cahill

Mike Cahill

Mike is ViralNova's resident Editor of the Weird. If it makes you say "OMG! That's terrible!!!" then Mike probably wrote it. Despite the subject of his articles Mike is surprisingly well adjusted. When he's not writing, he's making music, performing, and producing podcasts.

We've all used hydrogen peroxide on a cut or scrape at some point in our lives. That burning sensation paired with the foam it creates when it hits the blood is reassurance that our cut won't get infected by anything nasty. But why does it do that?

Well, you've got to understand one thing first...

Most over-the-counter hydrogen peroxides are a solution of the chemical and water. Typically, they don't contain more than three percent hydrogen peroxide. Why so little, you ask? Well, I'll let the video below do the talking...

This is what happens when blood comes into contact with 30% hydrogen peroxide.

video-player-present

What you're seeing is the chemical reaction between the enzyme catalase (which is found in our blood cells) and the hydrogen peroxide itself. When they come into contract with each other, the hydrogen peroxide turns into oxygen and water.

The bubbles you see are pure oxygen being released as a result of the combination. The reaction is also extremely efficient at burning up (so to speak) any bacteria that may have made its way into your cut. Now just imagine pouring that 30% solution on it...yeah, that would have some devastating consequences.

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