The percutaneous absorption of chlorhexidine during its routine use in topical antiseptic preparations used in umbilical cord care was investigated by determining plasma chlorhexidine concentrations at ages 5 and 9 days. These showed that percutaneous absorption of chlorhexidine occurred in preterm neonates treated with a 1% solution of chlorhexidine in ethanol, but not in term infants similarly treated, or in preterm infants treated only with a dusting powder containing 1% chlorhexidine and 3% zinc oxide.
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