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Horrible Medical Advice of the Week: Alcohol Kills Bacteria, Right?

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So this is pretty basic. I mean, I probably would have been able to figure this out myself even if Mike weren’t a doctor. Have you ever looked at the ingredients in hand sanitizer? That stuff that kills assloads of bacteria? Well, it’s pretty much rubbing alcohol made into gel or foam. And when you’re getting a shot or blood drawn and the nurse wants to make sure that no bacteria from your skin gets into your blood, well, they wipe your arm with an alcohol wipe thing. So: Bacteria + Alcohol = No Bacteria.

The most basic application of this, of course, would be using alcohol as a disinfectant. Neosporin? Fuck that shit. You got some gin? That’ll do nicely on any cuts or scrapes that you don’t want to get infected.

“But Rachael,” you’re saying, “what if I was dumb and didn’t pour gin on an open wound and now have an infected cut?” Well that was stupid, but don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. The first step is gonna be kind of gross because you’ll have to open up the infection, which you can do by stabbing yourself with a pin or perhaps using a razor blade if it’s bigger. What you do from here will depend on where the cut is. If it’s somewhere easily submersible, you’ll want to submerge it in a small glass of booze. Your other option, if it’s not easily submersible, is to get one of those little baby ear-douche things and squirt a bunch of booze into there, slowly, making sure that it has plenty of contact with the wound. For either of these applications, I recommend something stronger–get a bottle of Bacardi 151.

I'm sticking with "ear douche".

“But Rachael, I have a kidney infection! I can’t just cut into my kidneys myself!” Ugh. Fine. We can work with this. The important thing to know when you have an internal infection is that a hospital will probably give you IV antibiotics in order to get the bacteria-killing goodness straight into your bloodstream, because your blood goes everywhere. Except abscesses. Or sinuses. This probably won’t work if you have those. So anyway, have you ever heard of “Blood Alcohol Content”? You probably know, then, that alcohol also gets into your blood. Which means that if you drink alcohol, it’ll go wherever your blood goes, which is everywhere. (Except abscesses and sinuses.) So, logically speaking, if you have an infection that could be treated with IV antibiotics, all you have to do is get shithoused.

“But Rachael, my kidney infection developed because I got a UTI from drinking too much alcohol and didn’t get it treated fast enough so it spread. Will drinking more really help?” Do I look like a fucking doctor to you?


Dr. Boyfriend Says: Booze won’t help anything. None of what Rachael just said is true. Well, except for the hand sanitizer part. She’s right about that.


About Rachael

Hi. I'm Rachael. I realized one day that, even though I read a lot of books, I often have a hard time remembering them later on. I guess that happens when there's so much to try to remember! So I started The 50 Book Project, with the intention to read and blog about 50 new (to me) books in 2014. I read a lot of fantasy, but I'm trying to branch out and experience new stuff. Any questions? Suggestions? Let me know! Comment, or email me at

43 responses »

  1. Getting shitfaced will solve just about any problem you have. At least temporarily.

  2. that was my solution to throat infections during university.

    you get double the antiseptic goodness, because it’s fighting the infection on the surface, and in your blood!

    • Damn, I didn’t even think of that! So much throat-y benefit. I don’t know why people do anything else.

      • It’s just bad press I think, the alcohol companies should sponsor medical conferences too, and give free handouts.

        I’d rather get a Stolichnaya pen from a doctor than a Pfizer one, that’s for sure. Think of the product samples too, little tiny bottles of grog are much cooler than blister packs of placebos…

  3. I feel like this post…spoke to me…kidneywise.

  4. i have to be the HEALTHIEST person in the world if this is true. awesome. i have been self medicating for years – screw you doctors! thank you, Rachael!

  5. Oh Heck with Dr. Boyfriend. I’ve been trying to show my Dr. Husband the light for quite awhile now, but doctors are such obnoxious know-it-alls about medical stuff.

    Alcohol is the cure for many a malady…infection, agoraphobia, un-impregnatedness, horrible dancing. I suggest we do a bake-sale or something to fund a study.

    • I know, right? They’re all: “y’know, you really shouldn’t take four benadryl at a time” and “if you take these together then neither will work, what the hell are you doing?”. Insufferable.

      It’s my preferred treatment for agoraphobia. This use also explains why people in New York who don’t have extra money to spend still manage to spend so much time in bars. Fuckin’…CROWDS, man.

  6. I’m totally stealing ear douche, but I plan on using it in a slightly different context. For example, listening to Glenn Neck is a giant vinegary ear douche OR Listening to Nickelback is like having my ears douched with a flaming bottle of Goldschlitz.

  7. I used to babysit all the time and that thing is actually for suctioning the snot out of baby’s noses when they have colds… btw lol

    • Different tool, actually. They look pretty much exactly the same, though, so I can’t blame you. I think the nose suction ones have smaller tips or something?

  8. So, as a leper. Ahem, I mean, as someone with a really bad case of excema, I should just fill my bathtub with scotch and leisurely relax in a big tub o’ healing? I like it. Thanks for the excellent medical advice!

    • take some swigs too. In this case I am saying it is okay to drink your bathwater.

    • Wait wait wait. Is eczema bacterial? I don’t think it’s bacterial. Alcohol will kill bacteria, but it won’t cure leprosy. I think you need to get in touch with Jesus for that, and I don’t think he makes house calls. (He might if you’ve got a bathtub filled with hard liquor, though.)

    • My name is Joy.
      I just left a comment about carpet beetles.
      You may have them unbeknownst to you and you are getting a reaction from the things called sutures which are reallly sawlike razor blades on the spikes which cover their bodies and get into absolutely everything. Unfortunately they are hard to see without a microscope. But with severe infestations they may leave tiny black shiny slivers or black
      specks. Look at your skin with a magnifying glass with a light. Their residue can cause
      reactions and if you are allegic to their saliva you will know it alright.
      Shake and rub your head over a white sink and see if any of this stuff drops out.
      Let me know.
      You are not really a leper You are beautiful but you must find out what is happening to you. Noone else is capable of doing the research for you. t is hard work.

  9. Fire/Medic boy swears by Jack Daniels as the cure for the common cold. Hot tea + Jack Daniels + lemon – hot tea = cutting a cold down to 2 days max.

    Formula does not, however, work for stomach flu.

    • Huh. The common cold is VIRAL. Does alcohol kill viruses, too? This totally warrants further research. I wonder if I can get one of the people I know who is two years into a biomedical science Ph.D. to change their thesis topic.

  10. OK, so I have absolutely used liquor to sanitize cuts when I had no rubbing alcohol handy, or if said cut occurs in the kitchen, as the liquor is alot handier than running to the bathroom in the middle of cooking and digging through the cupboard for the rubbing alcohol. Also, I have gargled with whiskey when I had a sore throat. I may or may not have sanitized a safety pin with rum to get a sliver out of my finger.

    My friends try to kick the sick by drinking sometimes, but it never seems to work out that well.

  11. damn, I think I might need to run to the liquor store (the only place to buy booze in Utah) I am feeling completely unprepared “just in case” I mean you just never know right???

  12. Ah fuck it. Booze solves all, no matter what Boyfriend says. You drink, it gets better! Especially if you have happy pills to mix with it.

  13. Relationship problems + Alcohol = No relationship problems

    I’m good at math.

  14. so then logic dictates if you mix MULTIPLE strong liquors …like in a Long Island Iced Tea for example.. you’ll get EXTRA healing powers.

    I think I need to test my theory!

  15. I love this series. I spent most of my life wondering why I was always short of breath/felt like I had a lot of pressure on my chest. My mom said it was because I had big boobs, which I accepted for about 25 years of my life. I told my doctor this, moments before he diagnosed me with asthma. He almost died laughing.

    • I will blame just about anything on my boobs, given the chance. They probably caused your asthma in the first place.

    • Hi
      Just found out that I have carpet beetles in my everything in the house.
      They cause reactions e.g. asthma, skin issues etc. i.e. make you sick.
      Unfortunately the doctors only want to alleviate your symptoms not find the cause.

      The above finding does not mean that you are dirty or bad!
      They could have been there without you knowing, obviously, but they even get into linens,pet hairs, your nose etc .Almost impossible to find or find out about.

      I am relentless when it comes to something harming me and my family even though I have been feeling sick for almost ever.
      I am a senior citizen with lots of carpets and woolen upholstery, down bedding, cotton etc.

      Contact me if you want.
      I hope that I will survive this hell.

  16. Pingback: Things I Like | tess mackenzie

  17. smoking is better suffocate the bacteria with co2 to kill them


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