Bacitracin can be purchased over-the-counter as a topical antibiotic ointment. As mentioned, it can be found in Polysporin, but also on its own. It is intended for the treatment of minor scrapes, cuts, and burns. This antibiotic may help prevent these minor wounds from becoming infected. Patients should not use it to treat animal bites, severe burns, or puncture wounds. Additionally, it is not safe for use on deep wounds. Individuals with allergies to mineral oil or petroleum jelly should not use bacitracin ointment.
When using bacitracin, it is essential to use it on the affected skin only and never over large areas. Bacitracin can be safely applied to the skin one to three times each day. Patients may want to cover the area with a bandage each time they reapply. Pregnant or breastfeeding women must ask their doctor before using bacitracin. Rarely, an allergic reaction to bacitracin may occur. This could produce hives and swelling of the face, lips, or tongue. Some individuals could experience breathing difficulties if an allergic reaction is severe. If the patient shows signs of an allergic reaction, they should seek out emergency medical care.