Study Links MRSA And Antibiotic Ointment

Antibiotic ointments may be good for healing, but a new study links frequent use with the development of a more drug-resistant strain of the "MRSA" staph infection.


Treating cuts and scrapes with antibiotic ointment like Neosporin may be good for healing, but a new study finds the frequent use of these ointments could lead to a more drug-resistant strain of the "MRSA" staph infection.

Gitu Ramani has two little boys. “There are cuts and scrapes all the time, walking into doors, the dog scratching them, falling in the playground,” she said.

When they get hurt, she grabs the antibiotic ointment. “I wash it with water and I always carry Neosporin with me,” she said.

But a study finds that Americans’ frequent use of over-the-counter antibiotic ointments could be creating a new drug-resistant super strain of "MRSA." that's the bacteria that causes mild to severe skin infections, and can be deadly.

What was shocking in the study was that the areas that used more of the antibiotic ointment, specifically in the US had more resistance than countries that used a lot less of the antibiotic ointment,” said Matthew Weissman of the Ryan Nena Community Health Center

In the past MRSA infections were most common in hospitals. But now the bacteria is turning up in gyms, locker rooms and day cares.

Up until now, oral antibiotics were the main concern. Recently, the over-the-counter creams have come under scrutiny. Doctors say keep it simple when it comes to minor cuts and scrapes.

“For a typical cut scratch scrape, soap and water and a band aid is probably the most important treatment,” Weissman said.

Still, as a concerned mom, Rumani says she’ll continue to use the ointment. “I just feel when you hear antibiotic you think it's going to get rid of that little bit of infection that could be caused,” she said.

But doctors say it’s probably best to save antibiotics for more serious infections.

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