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Slate Valley Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing on the Best Over-the-Counter Ointments for Wound Care

September 13, 2019

Many times, superficial wounds like cuts and scrapes heal on their own. With seniors, however, more care and attention need to be paid to wounds because, generally, the older we get, the longer it takes to heal because the skin is more fragile. When the immune system is compromised or the person has a condition like diabetes, the healing process becomes even longer and more complicated.

Over-the-counter topical ointments are a popular method to help heal wounds without having to visit a doctor. Slate Valley Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing would like to go over the most popular antibiotic ointments you can buy at the drug store.


Bacitracin can be found in just about every over-the-counter antibiotic ointment on the market. It’s an antibiotic that kills a broad range of bacteria that can be present in most wounds. In many cases, bacitracin is enough to kill any infections in the wound without the need for a prescription antibiotic. Sometimes, people do have an allergic reaction to bacitracin. This usually presents itself by redness, swelling, and itching of the skin.

Bacitracin and Polymyxin B (Polysporin)

The common brand name for this medication is Polysporin. The polymyxin B is effective against a group of bacteria called the gram-negative rods, so it provides better coverage than bacitracin alone. There is also a version of this double antibiotic that is used in eye medication.

Bacitracin, Polymyxin B, and Neomycin (Neosporin)

This triple antibiotic is known by the brand name Neosporin, and is the most popular of the three. Neomycin works against the same bacteria strains as the other two ingredients, but it’s believed that it provides better coverage by working together with the bacitracin and polymyxin B.

It’s important to note that if you suffered an animal bite or a puncture wound, a doctor’s care may be necessary. Also consult a doctor if your wound shows the classic signs of an infection – added redness, swelling and warmth around the wound area, drainage or pus, and fever.

To learn more about Slate Valley Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing and all of the services they offer, visit

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