Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Soap and Water

Why soap and water is the best cure for a grazed knee

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 7:42 AM on 23rd February 2011
It will be welcome news to any child who has squealed and squirmed while a caring parent dabs stinging antiseptic on to their cuts.

Washing playground wounds with soap and water may be more effective than applying antibiotic creams, according to a study. 

Scientists claim that cleaning a child’s cuts and grazes carefully under the tap helps the healing process more than using antibacterial lotions and treatments.

The researchers originally intended to compare two antibiotics commonly used to treat skin infections to find out which was more effective.

Cure: The best remedy for a grazed knee in the playground in soap and water according to a new study 

Cure: The best remedy for a grazed knee in the playground in soap and water according to a new study

After cleaning and dressing the wounds of 191 patients at a children’s hospital, they gave each child one of the treatments at random – but found that the choice of drug made no difference.

Within a week, 95 per cent of the participants had recovered completely, regardless of which antibiotic they had received.

The researchers concluded that the secret to successful healing was proper wound care and cleaning, not antibiotics.

The study’s lead author, Dr Aaron Chen, said: ‘The good news is that no matter which antibiotic we gave, nearly all skin infections cleared up fully within a week.

The better news might be that good low-tech wound care – cleaning, draining and keeping the infected area clean – is what truly makes the difference between rapid healing and persistent infection.’

Dr Chen added that keeping wounds clean had always been the cornerstone of skin infection treatment, but that more doctors had started prescribing antibiotics in recent years – despite the raised costs and risk of developing side effects or drug resistance.

Paediatrician Dr George Siberry said: ‘Many physicians understandably assume that antibiotics are always necessary for bacterial infections, but there is evidence to suggest this may not be the case.

‘We need studies that precisely measure the benefit of antibiotics to help us determine which cases warrant them and which ones would fare well without them.’

The 191 children in the study, aged from six months to 18 years, were treated for skin infections at Johns Hopkins Children’s Centre in Baltimore, Maryland, between 2006 and 2009.

Of these, 133 were infected with community-acquired MRSA bacteria, a virulent strain which does not respond to many antibiotics. The remainder had simple skin infections with non-resistant strains of the bacterium.

The researchers said a follow-up study was necessary to compare patients receiving a placebo with those on antibiotics, along with proper wound cleaning and dressing.

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