This study aimed to investigate the impact of Gebauer’s Pain Ease® (Gebauer Company, Cleveland, OH) topical refrigerant spray on the disinfection of skin sites, focusing on the volar wrist and lower back. The primary objective was to determine whether the application of Pain Ease would compromise the disinfection of these sites, potentially making it a suitable alternative to injectable lidocaine for invasive medical procedures.


This prospective, blinded, controlled study was conducted at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI. Healthy adult hospital employees were recruited, and written consent was obtained. Swabs were taken from the volar wrist and lower back sites before and after treatment with ChloraPrep™ (BD, Franklin Lakes, NJ) and Pain Ease. Microbial cultures were performed, and microbial growth levels were assessed and categorized. Data analysis included comparisons of microbial growth between untreated samples, ChloraPrep-treated samples, and ChloraPrep + Pain Ease-treated samples.


Data were collected from 72 participants, with 6 samples per participant (2 locations, 3 treatments each). For wrist samples, there were no statistically significant differences in microbial growth between ChloraPrep and ChloraPrep + Pain Ease. Similarly, for lower-back samples, microbial growth did not significantly differ between these 2 treatment groups.


This study demonstrates that the application of Gebauer’s Pain Ease to ChloraPrep disinfected skin areas does not negatively affect the reduction of the bacterial load, supporting its potential as an alternative to injectable lidocaine and other superficial anesthetics for vascular access or invasive medical procedures. However, further research is warranted to explore the application of Pain Ease in various clinical scenarios and optimize patient comfort during longer and more invasive procedures.

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