health myths

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Topical antibiotics should be your go-to for minor cuts and wounds.
Many of us automatically reach for neomycin (one of the active ingredients in ointments like Neosporin) whenever we have a cut or scrape. But constantly exposing the skin to neomycin can lead to an allergic reaction over time, says Reid Blackwelder, MD, a professor of family medicine at East Tennessee State University who sits on the board of directors of the American Academy of Family Physicians. "People will then use the ointment and assume the resulting redness comes from the wound, when it's actually the neomycin affecting their skin." Some studies have also suggested the widespread use of OTC ointments with neomycin, polymyxin or bacitracin may contribute to the development of resistant bacteria, says Blackwelder. For minor wounds like hangnails, shaving cuts and paring-knife nicks, he suggests using soap and water to clean and disinfect the area. If you think the area is infected, talk to your doctor.
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.