Are you familiar with the deep purple solution your mother applies to your skin when you had a bad case of athlete’s foot? It did a great, didn’t it?
That solution is made by dissolving potassium permanganate crystals in water. Potassium permanganate is an inorganic but water soluble compound. It is also known as Condy’s crystals and permanganate of potash.
This chemical has a strong oxidizing property that is why it is very useful in many applications. However, one of its more popular uses is in medicine, as an antiseptic and fungicide. It has also been used in water treatment by the army to render potable water. But this practice has been discontinued because it causes stains on the teeth.
Potassium permanganate is dissolved in warm water to come up with a nice pink colored solution which is then ideal for treatment of skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, and fungal infections of the hands and feet.
Immersion in potassium permanganate has been proven to be effective for skin conditions but this is largely unpopular because of the stains and discolorations it leaves on the bathing materials such as towels and the bath tub. This can be addressed, however, with dissolving the right amount of crystals. A concentration of 1:10,000 will result to a pink color. Using too much and the water goes black and results to a rather nice but fake tan.
A weak solution of potassium permanganate has been formerly used as an antiseptic wash for vaginal thrush, vulvovaginitis as well as persistent urine infection in both children and adults. It has also been applied as a vaginal douche after childbirth way before the use of antibiotics.
Treatment of Fish Diseases
Potassium permanganate is an effective treatment for various fish diseases and parasites. It is helpful in treating bacterial gill infection and skin ulcers. It dramatically improves water quality by reducing the biological oxygen demand as a result of the oxidation of the dissolved organic matter in the water.
It is commercially used as an oxidizing agent in fish ponds to react with organic matter including bacteria, algae, particulates as well as organic sediments. It is very important to calculate the exact amount of needed chemical for the volume of water since it can cause extensive damage or even death of your fish. It can be used as a pest control for parasitic nudibranches in your aquarium.
However, frequent treatment can harm your fish so wait for a reasonable period before repeating treatment. Disperse the solution evenly throughout the pond and aerate your pond properly after treatment.
Having a strong oxidizing capacity, potassium permanganate is ideal for use in water treatment. It removes from the water, iron and magnesium which give water its unpleasant color and unpalatable taste. It is added to the water for treatment especially those which come from sources deep into the ground. It also reduces rust in the pipes and other water equipment.
To prevent cholera and other water-borne diseases, wash fruits and vegetables with diluted potassium permanganate solution as well as your cooking utensils such as the chopping board.
There are other uses and applications for potassium permanganate primarily because of its excellent oxidizing property. And also as a result of this, proper handling and storage must be practiced. Always use gloves when handling this chemical since it quickly reacts with the skin leaving a dark brown stain.
It is a strong oxidizer therefore proper storage is necessary and must be kept away from other highly oxidizable substances. It should be separated well away from concentrated sulfuric acid because reaction with these two chemicals can be explosive.
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