Antibiotic ointments help treat most minor skin infections that are caused by small cuts, scratches, scrapes, or minor burns. However, it should be used for the skin only. This medication can be used only on small areas of the body. You also have to remember that it can only prevent and treat skin infections that are a result of bacteria. Otherwise, it won’t be of help. So, in case your child gets injured, and you plan on putting an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment, one question you might have in mind is- how long should you use an antibiotic ointment?
Antibiotic ointments help wounds heal by preventing infection and by keeping the wound clean and moist. If your child has stitches, your doctor will inform you whether you should use an antibiotic ointment or not. Most small cuts and scrapes heal without antibiotic ointment. But it can make healing quicker and can help reduce scarring.
What is an Antibiotic Ointment?
The antibiotic ointment is used to prevent and treat minor skin infections caused by small cuts, scrapes, or burns. It is an over-the-counter drug, and a prescription won’t be necessary to purchase it.
When using antibiotic ointments, always refer to the packaging that comes with it. Do not use this product over huge areas of the body. And always seek medical advice first before using this product for serious skin injuries or infections since they may require different treatment or prescription.
How to Use Antibiotic Ointment
Antibiotic ointment is intended for the skin only. Using it internally can be a health hazard. Always follow the directions on the package or use the medication as advised by your doctor. Here are the steps on how to use an antibiotic ointment for wounds:
- Clean and dry the affected area. If you are using the ointment, wash your hands thoroughly first.
- Apply a small amount of medication (pea-size only) in a thin layer on the skin and rub in gently. Apply 1 to 3 times a day.
- Wash your hands after application.
- You may cover the small treated area with a sterile bandage.
Avoid using large amounts of antibiotic ointment for wounds. Keep in mind that you should not apply this more often or for a longer period than as prescribed by your doctor. Doing so can lead to more serious problems. Moreover, your condition will not clear faster, but the risk of side effects may be higher.
Doctors usually prescribe antibiotic ointments for seven days only. So unless directed by your doctor, do not use this product for longer than one week.
Antibiotic ointments should not be used on a child’s irritated skin caused by diaper rash unless your doctor says otherwise. If you need to apply the medication to the diaper area, do not use tight-fitting diapers or plastic pants.
Avoid getting this ointment in your eyes, nose, and mouth. If this occurs, rinse thoroughly with water.
Use this medication habitually to get the most benefit from it. However, if your condition does not improve after a few days, seek immediate medical attention.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I NOT use an antibiotic ointment for wounds?
Do not use antibiotic ointments over a large portion of the body. This treatment is not appropriate to use for infections caused by fungus or virus. In addition, check all ingredients listed on the product packaging to avoid an allergic reaction. If you are pregnant, the use of this medication should be discussed with your doctor, including the risks and benefits. Breastfeeding mothers should also consult their doctor before using this type of medication.
Can I use antibiotic ointments for children?
The use of antibiotic ointments has no clear age specification. So it is best to consult a physician before applying it to your child’s wounds or other skin infections.
Can antibiotic ointments cause allergic reactions?
Antibiotic ointments are usually tolerated by most people. Prior to any use, check the packaging to see if you have allergies to any ingredients indicated. If you are unsure if you are allergic to any of the product’s ingredients, you should call your doctor before using it.
The most common side effects of using antibiotic ointments for wounds are itching and burning. These problems usually do not require medical treatment unless they inhibit your everyday activities.
If any of the following side effects occur, call your doctor immediately:
- tightness or discomfort in the chest
- breathing problems
- fainting or dizziness
- low blood pressure
- hearing loss or ringing in the ears
Antibiotic ointments for wounds can help treat many kinds of skin infections. However, just like your regular medication, be aware of all precautions that come with it. Doing so can help prevent more severe problems. Using your antibiotic correctly can also aid in your wound’s fast healing. Know more about first aid.