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Honey for wound dressing

Honey as a dressing for wounds

Why Honey?
Honey has been used by many communities for the treatment of burns, blisters, bed sores and other large and troublesome wounds. Studies have been done world over which show that wounds treated with pure natural honey heal faster and better. Wounds from burns, boils, accidents, diabetes, etc often get infected and give off a foul smell. When you use honey on such wounds, the smell disappears within one week. Many large or deep wounds with infection require the doctor to take the patient to theatre to clean them properly. Using honey makes this unnecessary and the wounds heal without needing an operation. A patient with a wound experiences a lot of pain when they go for daily dressing at the health facility. This is because the bandages stick on to the wound. When they are being changed, they pull off from the wound causing pain and sometimes opening the wound afresh.
  
Most medicines used to treat wounds either keep the wound dry to avoiding infection or keep the wound moist. A dry wound will give heavy scars while a wet wound attracts bacteria and can result in prolonged infection. Man-made drugs to fight bacteria (antibiotics) are have side effects, are harsh and slow down the healing process of the wound. Honey on the other hand, draws fluids from within the body which contain cells, nutrients and other substances that speed up the healing process of the skin. This more natural way of enabling healing also reduces the scar size left behind by the wound. Even an infected wound heals faster with honey.
 
Honey is particularly useful in treating all kinds of burns and wounds that have been there for a long time due to disease e.g. diabetes, insect bites, animal bites and skin disease. It has been found to work fast with no side-effects and many doctors and nurses recommend it for such wounds. It has no side effects and is usually painless. If used in the eye, there is a slight burning feeling which passes.
 
Word of caution
It is important to seek treatment for a wound/burn that is not healing well before treating it yourself at home. Some serious conditions e.g. cancer can cause a wound that does not heal well and it is important for a doctor/nurse to see the wound before you start dressing it with honey.
 
How to use honey to dress a wound
  • Clean the wound with plain water or the solution put in a drip and used in the dispensary/hospital (normal saline solution).
  • Use pure, natural honey that is liquid to make it easier to apply. If it has hardened slightly, warm it gently but not too much, as you will destroy its ability to fight infection.
  • Pour the honey onto the dressing gauze, bandage, etc and then apply this on the wound.
  • If you have a bandage that keep in the honey without it leaking, this is the best. If not you can use taping to keep the bandage/gauze in place and prevent leaking of the honey.
  • Remember that honey when exposed on the skin will attract flies and other insects and so it is important to ensure that it is not leaking.
  • If the wound is deep and particularly if it has a white layer (dead tissue) at the bottom, pour the honey directly onto the wound then pour some more onto the bandage and then cover the wound.
  • Use enough honey so that it is not diluted by the fluids in the wound. So the larger the wound or the deeper it is, the more honey you need to use.
  • Change this dressing every day. If the honey has leaked a lot into the bandage/gauze, change the dressing and use a fresh one.
  • If the wound is very infected, you can change the dressing 2 – 3 times a day and when it starts healing, change it once daily and eventually every other day.
  • However, if this is not possible, changing the dressing every day is enough.
  • Drinking 6 - 10 tablespoons of the honey each day has also been found to speed the healing.
  • Once the wound is dry and healing well, stop the honey dressings.
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