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Study: Wound care matters most

Baltimore — New research suggests that preventing infection in a wound may depend more on simply keeping it clean than on choosing the right antibiotic, the online New York Times reports.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University studied 200 children and teenagers ages 6 months to 18 years old. Each had a skin infection, typically from allergies, diaper rash or eczema; 137 tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The subjects were randomly assigned to receive either clindamycin, an antibiotic effective against MRSA, or cephalexin, which is less active against it.

After two to three days, 97 percent of those on clindamycin had improved, as had 94 percent of those on cephalexin. Of the nine whose infections were worse, three were on clindamycin and six on cephalexin, a difference of no significance. Substantially less improvement was observed in children under 1 year old, regardless of the drug administered.

According to the Times, lead author Aaron E. Chen, M.D., says that while the study’s findings do not suggest that antibiotics are useless in treating such infections, he does think “The most important part is good woundcare, drainage of lesions and close follow-up. Antibiotics are probably not as important as we think they are, but we need larger studies to answer that question.”

Dr. Chen was at Johns Hopkins at the time of the study and is now at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. The research appears in the March issue of Pediatrics.

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