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What is Benzalkonium Chloride Lotion

written by: Kathy Foust•edited by: Emma Lloyd•updated: 8/31/2009

Many people use benzalkonium chloride lotion every day without even realizing it. Read here to learn where the chemical can be found and what it is used for.

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    Benzalkonium chloride lotion has many uses. It is an antiseptic chemical that is found in many products, namely body cleaners and especially baby cleaning products. The liquid form of this product is used to treat fever blisters and cold sores.

    Whether you use the liquid form of this chemical or the lotion form, unless it is in an actual soap the area that this medication is applied to should be cleaned previous to applying this lotion. If this is used to treat a viral infection, such as a cold sore, be sure to wash hands before and after applying the treatment to avoid spreading the virus to other areas of your body.

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    Contraindications and Warnings

    You should not use products that contain benzalkonium chloride lotion if you have had previous adverse effects from using the chemical Benzalkonium.

    While there are no known medications that interact badly with this one, be sure to consult your doctor and inform him or her of any current medications you are taking. There may potential interactions that your doctor is aware of. Pay heed to the warnings below when using this medication.

    This chemical is flammable and should be kept away from any type of open flame. Benzalkonium chloride liquid should not be used more often than 3 times a day and not for longer than 7 days. Consult your doctor if symptoms have not improved or have worsened within that time frame. Talk with your doctor before using this if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Your doctor will tell you of any possible new found risks as there are none currently documented. Benzalkonium chloride lotion is to be used as a topical solution and should not be ingested at any time or in any way. This chemical should only be applied to small areas of the body as application over larger areas of the body may result in unwanted health risks.

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    Side Effects

    The documented side effects of the use of this chemical are limited and this is not an offer of all-inclusive information. To date, the most common side effect is the stinging sensation that may occur in some people when this topical chemical is applied. However, everyone does respond differently to chemicals. If you feel that you are experiencing a side effect in relation to the use of this chemical, contact your doctor immediately.

    Some individuals may experience allergic reactions in the form of hives, palpitating heart, shortness of breast and swelling of the face and/or throat area. If you experience any of these symptoms, discontinue use and contact your physician immediately