– Cuts, scrapes, abrasions and other minor wounds usually don't require you to visit the emergency room or see your doctor; however, even very small openings in the skin can become infected if they're not cared for properly. Fortunately, you can greatly reduce the risk of infection by using the right first aid products throughout the healing process. At drugstore.com, we have an assortment of over-the-counter topical antibiotics that can help you protect wounds and reduce the risk of infection. read more about antibiotics »
Over-the-counter antibiotics for wound care are topical ointments, creams and gels that are applied to broken skin. The products contain ingredients that fight the bacteria that cause infections in wounds. Some of the most commonly used antibacterial ingredients in first aid products for wound care include neomycin, polymyxin B sulfate, bacitracin and silver chloride.
You can find products that contain just one antibiotic ingredient or that combine two or more into a single formula to fight a broad range of bacteria. Doctors typically recommend that an antibiotic be applied to wounds after they have been properly cleaned and then reapplied as recommended by the manufacturer until the skin heals. Your physician can provide you with specific advice regarding when and how to use antibiotics for wound care and which type is best for you.
Medications with Added Benefits
Some topical antibiotics contain supportive ingredients that allow them to provide additional benefits beyond fighting bacteria. You can find antibiotic topical products that include pain relievers like pramoxine hydrochloride or anesthetics like lidocaine. These formulas can alleviate discomfort in the area around the wound. The manufacturers of first aid products may also add zinc to antibiotic ointments and creams. This mineral has been shown in some studies to assist with skin healing and may help wounds heal more efficiently or quickly.
Natural Topical Products
If you prefer to take a natural approach to wound care or have been told by your doctor not to use over-the-counter antibiotics due to a risk for side effects or sensitivity, there are other products that may be beneficial to you. One of the most common alternative remedies for fighting germs around a wound is Manuka honey. This natural substance is produced by bees using nectar sourced from one specific tree that is native to New Zealand.
Manuka honey has been studied for its antibacterial properties that could help fight infection; however, more research is needed to understand exactly how it works and whether or not over-the-counter honey remedies are effective antibacterial agents for wound care.
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