Honey and Wound Care
Some deeper wounds may benefit from a honey-based gel.
Honey has been used by a wide variety of different cultures since ancient times. While the sticky substance is primarily used as a sweetener today, its antibacterial properties have garnered attention in recent years, prompting some clinicians and health researchers to examine how honey can be used in wound dressings. Here are a few of the current modern configurations of the sweet stuff:
Deep wounds, such as cavity wounds, may be perfect candidates for honey gels or ointments. The dressing is antibacterial – the honey helps neutralize the pH in the wound, an environment that many bacteria cannot grow in. Honey’s properties help to remove the risk of infection in the area, something that can be tricky for alginate and fibrous dressings that are less flexible. Most honey gels and ointments are used in conjunction with dry dressings like gauze to provide a covering for the wounds. Because they are considered wet dressings, these gels often work best on wounds with low levels of discharge.
Honey Gel Sheets
These sheets are built with sodium alginate and honey. Similar to some other gel-based dressings like hydrogel dressings, these sheets work particularly well for uneven wound surfaces and deep wounds like puncture wounds. Because they are considered a wet dressing, these sheets are usually most useful for wounds that produce little to no fluid discharge.
As its name suggests, this dressing is made from a finely-woven fabric that is the injected with honey. The thin fabric provides a light covering for the wound, as well as some antibacterial coverage. Some honey-impregnated tulles, such as Action Tulle, are non-adherent, and so pose no risk of removing healthy or developing tissue when they are changed, according to the British Journal of Community Nursing.
Things To Look For
Individuals who may be trying to cut costs should, under no circumstances, use honey that is found in stores or other retail locations. Honey used for wounds often come from specific geographic areas, such as the Manuka honey that is endemic to Australia and New Zealand, and is made with raw honey. By contrast, most honey used in cooking undergoes a heat treatment that virtually wipes out its therapeutic and medicinal properties.
Similarly, before buying any honey-based products, it is key to consult your clinician before starting any treatments.