Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Practical Application of Honey Dressing

M Subrahmanyam, Professor and Head of Department of Surgery at Bharathi Bidyapeeth Deemed University Medical College and Hospital, Sangli, India

[Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of abstracts from the 1st International Conference on the Medicinal Uses of Honey (From Hive to Therapy) held by Universiti Sains Malaysia in August of 2006. The abstracts have been published by the Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences (Vol.14 No.1, January 2007).]

The medicinal properties of honey have been known over the years. The Indian medicine ‘Ayurveda’ describes honey as the nectar of life and recommends its use in the treatment of various ailments. Honey has been used as an adjuvant for acceleration of wound healing in ulcers, infected wounds, bedsores, Fournier’s gangrene and burns.

In burns honey has been found to heal the burn wounds faster and quicker with less scarring by scientific studies. In minor burns, it is recommended to pour tap water immediately on the burns, as this reduces the temperature. Afterwards, honey can be applied on burns. Depending on the area, 15-30 ml of honey can be applied directly on to the burn wound or soaked in gauze before application.

Occlusive or absorbent secondary dressings are applied to prevent honey from oozing out and the frequency of dressing changes depends on how rapidly the honey gets diluted by the exudates, which declines, as treatment progresses. In deep cavities gauze can be soaked and packing is done of the cavity. The dressing can be protected from ants by rapping it with a plastic cover.

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