When there is a break, laceration or incision in the skin, a large number of bacteria–especially the bacteria that normally colonize the skin–can enter the body and cause infection. These bacteria attach to tissue and stop the wound from healing, causing other symptoms, such as increased swelling, high or low body temperature and increased discharge or pus from the wound. Antibiotics, antiseptics and dressings containing silver are effective treatment options.
Oral antibiotics such as cephalexin and amoxicllin are prescribed for bacterial skin infections. Cephalexin is a cephalosporin antibiotic used to fight bacterial and skin infections. According to Drugs.com, cephalexin inhibits the formation of the bacterial cell wall by causing it to rupture. Amoxicillin is an antibiotic of the penicillin class that also inhibits the formation of the bacterial cell wall. For severe systemic infections that are unresponsive to amoxicillin and cephalexin, combination drugs such as Augmentin can be an effective antibiotic wound remedy, notes GlobalRPh.com. Augmentin contains amoxicillin, which is a penicillinase antibiotic, and clavulanate potassium, both of which work in conjugation to destroy beta-lactam resistant bacteria.
Slow-releasing antiseptics solutions, such as Cadexomer iodine and Povidone iodine, are used in conjugation with antibiotics for the treatment of wound infection. Iodine has antiseptic properties that are effective against a wide range of pathogens. Unlike antibiotics, which destroy bacteria cells, slow-releasing antiseptics target and destroy a wide range of bacterial functions. Iodine-containing antiseptics inhibit the formation of cellular membranes and destroy organelles in the cytoplasm and nucleic acids that the cells need to survive, notes the Tissue Viability Society.
Noble metals like silver are effective in treating antibiotic resistant strains that colonize wounds. According to World Wide Wounds, silver inhibits the multiplication of bacteria by interfering with the bacterial electron transport system. Sulphadizaine is solution of silver and sulphonamide and it is used as a topical treatment for broad spectrum bacteria. Sulphadizaine is applied with an absorptive, polyethylene mesh which slowly releases the silver in concentrations that are toxic to broad spectrum bacteria, including MRSA and vancomycin resistant Enterococcus, but safe for humans.