Topical Antibiotic

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Topical Antibiotics are medicines applied to the skin to kill bacteria. They are used to treat or prevent infections that occur on minor cuts, scrapes, and burns due to presence of bacteria. Treating wounds, cuts or burns with topical antibiotics help in quick healing. Any kind of wound which is left untreated leads to more infections due to accumulation of bacteria and the infectious symptoms are pain, redness, swelling, itching, and oozing. They are also used on surgical incision sites to prevent infection. Untreated infections can eventually spread and become much more serious.


Description of Topical Antibiotics

The medications that are used to treat bacterial infections are antibiotics. The topical antibiotics as the name suggest are not to be consumed but to be applied. They are applied directly to the skin to treat or prevent infection. For any cut or wound, when the antibiotic is applied directly on the skin, it promotes accelerated healing and reduces the risk of infection. They are available in the form of creams, ointments, powders, and sprays.


Some Common Topical Antibiotics

There are different topical antibiotics that kill different types of bacteria. Most common ones are available without a doctor's prescription. Some widely used topical antibiotics are:

  • Bacitracin
  • Neomycin
  • Mupirocin
  • Polymyxin B

The common ingredients used in these medicines are Bactroban (a prescription item), Neosporin, Polysporin, and Triple antibiotic Ointment or Cream. Some contain multiple antibiotics to kill a broad range of bacteria. A prescription is then required to treat more severe infections.


Recommended dosage

Always check the label or ask your doctor for recommended applications as they depend on the type of topical antibiotic. As a rule, they should be applied within four hours after injury. Do not use more than the required amount. Also you are not supposed to apply it more often than three times a day. Do not apply the antibiotic over large areas of skin or on open wounds. Before application, wash the affected area properly and then pat dry. After the topical antibiotic is applied, the wound should be covered with a dressing.


Warnings

If the wound in not healed within a week, consult your doctor immediately. Use topical antibiotics only for small cuts, scrapes and burns. Do not apply on diaper rash in infants or incontinence rash in adults. Do not apply topical antibiotics in case of large wounds, deep cuts, cuts that continue bleeding or need stitches, large burns, scrapes with particles that won't wash away, animal bites, eye injuries etc.


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