– You never know when an accident will happen. Minor cuts, scrapes and burns usually heal on their own, but, during the healing process, they need protection. Open wounds are at greater risk for bacterial infection that can spread into adjacent tissues, delay healing or cause scarring.
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Antibiotics and antiseptics kill bacteria that cause infection or keep them from multiplying so wounds can heal as quickly as possible. Antibiotic creams and ointments are often formulated with other skin-friendly ingredients like cocoa butter or vitamin E. Some burns, cut and scrapes can be painful. That's why some topical antibiotic creams and ointments contain ingredients like pramoxine hydrochloride to relieve pain, burning and itching, giving hours of relief. Some people prefer the convenience of an antibiotic spray for wound protection. Simply spray the cut or scrape with topical antibiotic spray after cleansing for added protection.
Antiseptics Keep Bacteria in Check
Another way to reduce the risk of infection is to clean a wound two to three times a day and apply an antiseptic. Antiseptics are ingredients that either kill bacteria that cause infection or block their ability to grow and reproduce. One of the most inexpensive and effective antiseptics is hydrogen peroxide. When you apply hydrogen peroxide to a wound it also helps to remove dead skin cells from the surface of wounds that can slow down the healing process.
To reduce the risk of infection, it's important to keep wounds covered. When a wound is left open to the environment, it makes it easier for bacteria that cause infection to take up residence in the wound. In the case of a minor cut or scrape, a Band-Aid may be sufficient. For additional first aid protection, choose an adhesive bandage that has an added antibiotic. It's a quick and non-messy way to protect a wound until it heals.
Other Wound Healing Ingredients
Silver chloride is an ingredient in some wound care products. Some, but not all studies, show silver speeds up wound healing by blocking the ability of bacteria to grow and reproduce. It also helps to keep wounds from drying out. Honey has been used medicinally for centuries for medicine and health and to help heal minor wounds. One type of honey called manuka honey contains a compound called methylglyoxal that kills bacteria. Manuka honey has been sterilized to make it safe for use in open wounds and is available as a topical treatment for wound care. When you apply it to a clean wound, it offers additional added protection against infection. Plus, it has the benefit of being a natural approach to wound healing.
See Your Doctor for Deep Wounds
For anything other than a minor burn, cut or scrape, see your doctor. Certain people are at greater risk for wound infection including the elderly and those with other medical problems like diabetes. Always watch for signs of infection including redness, swelling or purulent drainage and see your doctor right away if they develop.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
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