Monday, August 04, 2008

Tanzanian Parents Use Honey to Treat Burns

Causes, Magnitude and Management of Burns in Under-Fives in District Hospitals in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
East African Journal of Public Health, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2008, pp. 38-42

Objectives: To determine the causes, magnitude and management of burns in children under five years of age who were admitted in the district hospitals of Dar es Salaam City, Tanzania…

Forty nine percent were males while 50.5% were females. Most of the children (54.9%) were aged between 1-2 years. 78.4 % had scalds while 21.6 % had flame burns. No children were found to have burns caused by chemicals or electricity. Most of the burns (97.5%) occurred accidentally, although some (2.5%) were intentional. 68.6 % of these burn injuries occurred in the kitchen. Immediately after burn 87.3% of the children had first aid applied on their wounds while 12.7% didn’t apply anything. Of the agents used, honey was the most used (32.8%) followed by cold water (16.7%). The source of knowledge on these agents was from relatives and friends (72.5%), schools (7%), media (6%) and medical personnel (14%)…

Discussion: …Honey has been used for wound treatment as long as 2000 years before bacteria were discovered to be the cause of infection. Recently honey has been reported to inhibit around 60 species of bacteria including aerobes and anaerobes, gram positive, gram negative and also antifungal action to Aspergillus spp and Penicillium spp (12). Its activity is based on its osmotic effect of its high sugar content and like other sugar syrups and sugar pastes has an osmolarity sufficient to inhibit microbial growth (13-15). Honey has also lymphocyte and phagocytic activity and to some extent activates the immune response to infection (16-17). Adverse reactions with honey are rare, and there was no adverse reaction noted other than a localized stinging sensation described by some patients which may be due to the acidity of honey as it has not been reported when the acidity is neutralized (18-20).

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