I've heard that alcohol shouldn't be used to disinfect cuts and scrapes. Is hydrogen peroxide a better choice?
ANSWER: No, says Dr. Arlene Brown, a physician in private practice in Ruidoso, New Mexico, and a member of the board of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Hydrogen peroxide is great for sterilizing medical instruments as well as bleaching hair and teeth, but, like alcohol, it can damage living tissue. Continued application of the powerful disinfectant can lead to a wound that heals slowly or, in some cases, not at all.
That doesn't mean you should leave minor wounds untreated. "Soap and water is your best bet," says Brown. A warm compress can also help increase circulation to the area, speeding healing and reducing pain. A dab of petroleum jelly applied twice a day keeps dirt and germs out of the wound.
If you're still concerned about infection, consider a triple-antibiotic cream such as Neosporin. Bear in mind that an increasing number of people seem to be developing an allergy to one of the ingredients in triple-antibiotic creams--bacitracin. An allergy to bacitracin can cause slow healing or a rash.
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