It’s difficult to imagine life now without them. Antibiotics have become ubiquitous since Alexander Fleming first stumbled upon penicillin in 1928.
Whether natural or synthetic – antibiotics have one thing in common: They kill bacteria. Bacteria respond by building immunity. They evolve so rapidly and effectively that the World Health Organization issued a stern warning: “Without urgent action, we are heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can once again kill.”
Is it time to call a truce?
The suggestion that our antibiotic embrace has been overly enthusiastic is not new. Most of us, even as we rush to the medicine cabinet at the slightest hurt, are aware that antibiotics ought to be treated with caution. They are a blunt instrument – effective but indiscriminate. They destroy the good with the bad and tend to throw our natural balance of microflora into chaos. Even where they are effective, temporary relief comes at a price.
Now consider this: When most of us think antibiotics, what comes to mind are prescription drugs. We know from experience how quickly doctors prescribe antibiotic treatments for bacterial infections of any kind. But what about all the non-prescription over-the-counter antibiotic ointments and creams in our medicine cabinets?
People imagine that non-prescription drugs are less potent, yet the operating principle is entirely the same. The consequence of overuse applies to antibiotic ointments just as it does to prescription medicines. Not only are these medicines potent – they are largely unnecessary.
Studies have shown that topical antibiotics are ineffective for use on open wounds and clean surgical wounds. They aggravate the wound, hindering the natural healing process and there is a significant risk of developing contact dermatitis, a condition in which the skin becomes red, sore or inflamed. Long term consequences of prolonged overuse include increased prevalence for chronic eczema, chronic otitis externa, anogenital dermatitis, chronic venous insufficiency and postoperative wounds.
More often than not, just cleaning a small wound will be sufficient. To reduce the time it takes to heal and minimize the risk of infection, try SHO Natural Bio-Active Skin Healing Ointment. Plant-based anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial ingredients reduce the risk of infection while soothing and rejuvenating delicate skin tissue. Our natural plant extracts have a bio-affinity with your skin allowing for fast effective relief and infection protection.
(references to the above statements)
• Dixon AJ, Dixon MP, Dixon JB. Randomized clinical trial of the effect of applying ointment to surgical wounds before occlusive dressing. Br J Surg. 2006 Aug;93(8):937-43.
• Smack DP, Harrington AC, Dunn C, Howard RS, Szkutnik AJ, Krivda SJ, Caldwell JB, James WD. Infection and allergy incidence in ambulatory surgery patients using white petrolatum vs bacitracin ointment. A randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 1996 Sep 25;276(12):972-7.
• Campbell RM, Perlis CS, Fisher E, Gloster HM Jr. Gentamicin ointment versus petrolatum for management of auricular wounds. Dermatol Surg. 2005 Jun;31(6):664-9.
• Sheth VM, Weitzul S. Postoperative topical antimicrobial use. Dermatitis. 2008 Jul-Aug;19(4):181-9.
• Gehrig KA, Warshaw EM. Allergic contact dermatitis to topical antibiotics: epidemiology, responsible allergens, and management. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008 Jan;58(1):1-21.