By the WoundSource Editors
Silver nitrate is a natural, inorganic chemical compound with antimicrobial properties that has been used in medical applications since the 13th century. It is used as a cauterizing agent and is available as a solution or an applicator stick. The applicator sticks, known as silver nitrate sticks or caustic pencils, contain silver nitrate and potassium nitrate. There are certain brands of silver nitrate sticks that can be bent or shaped to increase ease of access within a target area. The silver nitrate stick is activated by contact with moisture. When applied to wounds, silver nitrate sticks deliver free silver ions to the tissue that form an eschar as they bind to tissue and obstruct vessels.