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Considering all of the bandages, antibiotics and gauze on the shelves, determining the best treatment for you can be challenging. But these answers to common first aid questions can help make it all better.

Q: Can I just let my wound develop a scab?
A: Clinical studies have shown that covering a wound with an adhesive bandage helps speed healing and minimizes the appearance of scars. Also, scabs be scratched or torn, causing re-injury that prolongs the healing process.

Q: What's the right bandage for me?
A: Look for one that covers your entire wound and feels comfortable. You'll find a range of options, from heavy-duty waterproof to flexible materials.

Q: How long should I wear a bandage?
A: Start as soon as possible after you sustain a wound, and keep the wound covered until it's completely healed.

Q: Should I let my wound "air out"
A: Leaving a wound uncovered may delay healing, increase the risk of infection, and leave behind a scar.

Q: When should I use a topical antibiotic?
A: You can use one anytime you have a wound. This will help give you added protection against infection.

Q: Do antibiotics only kill germs?
A: Over-the-counter topical antibiotics kill a broad spectrum of bacteria. Consider a triple antibiotic combination for extra effectiveness.

Q: Are topical antibiotics okay to use on children?
A: Topical over-the-counter antibiotics are suitable for the whole family. Antibiotic/pain relief combination products are indicated for use on children two years and older. Please speak with your pediatrician if you have questions.

Q: Can I use a topical antibiotic past its expiration date?
A: Typically, a product's effectiveness has not been clinically tested beyond the expiration date on the package. Because they can lose their effectiveness over time, it is best to discard and replace expired products.

Q: What should I look for when buying a gauze pad?
A: The two most important attributes are thickness and absorbency. Thicker products provide better cushioning and protection from re-injury. Higher absorbency means fewer changes. Non-stick pads feature a special type of gauze that does not stick to wounds, and are designed to cover large scrapes.

Q: What kind of tape should I use?
A: The right kind of tape comfortably holds your dressing in place. Select the type that fits your needs for durability, skin sensitivity and ease of removal.

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