Iodine solution is made by mixing iodine into a mixture of potassium iodide; this mixture is commonly used to check for starch. Iodine solution is also known as povidone and is used to kill bacteria and treat infections and mild cuts.
Iodine solution is used to help treat radiation exposure, hyperactive thyroid, infection caused by a catheter, foot ulcers and other problems. Iodine solution is not used for eye infections, fungal problems or pneumonia. Some side effects caused by using iodine solution may be bruising, nausea, swollen lymph nodes, fever, hives and in extreme cases death. Make sure to discuss with the doctor any plans of becoming pregnant or breastfeeding, dermatitis herpetiformis or problems with the thyroid. These may affect the doctor's decision on whether iodine solution should be used for the patient's problem.
In 1829, a French professor by the name of J.G.A. Lugol mixed water, potassium iodide and iodine to make what is called Lugol's iodine. When testing for starch, if any is present it will turn a dark blue to black color. This is caused by polysaccharides reacting to iodine. Simple sugars cannot be detected using Lugol's iodine. Lugol's iodine may be used to see how diffusion and osmosis are used in cell membranes.