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WASHINGTON — Minor, uncomplicated wounds, such as the typical cuts and scrapes of childhood, are less likely to become infected when kept clean and moist and treated with topical antibiotics, according to a literature review published online Friday in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, the peer-reviewed scientific journal for the American College of Emergency Physicians.
"The studies found significant differences between wounds that were simply kept moist and those that were kept moist with the application of a topical antibiotic," stated lead author Anna Waterbrook, of the University of Arizona in Tucson. "In fact, wounds that were treated with topical creams that kept the wound moist but didn't provide any antibiotic were associated with a higher infection rate and should not be used," she noted.
"The bottom line is that topical antibiotics may help prevent infection when used to treat minor wounds," Waterbrook said. "It's also important to clean the wound and keep it covered before applying an antibiotic cream. That's good medicine for adults as well as children."