Pregnancy Use

Safety has not been scientifically established, but historical use suggests that it is safe. PRACTICE POINTS/PATIENT COUNSELLING

• Topical application of honey has been used to enhance wound healing and infection control.

• Honey has a deodorising and debriding effect on wounds, accelerates epitheliaIisation and reduces inflammation and pain.

• Effects are generally seen within 7 days of use.

• Not all honeys have significant antibacterial properties; however, research has identified the New Zealand Leptospermum (manuka honey) and Australian jelly bush honey as having potent activity.

• The honey to be used as a topical wound-healing agent or dermatological treatment should ideally be sterile and tested for clinical activity.

ANSWERS TO PATIENTS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What will honey do for me?

If you apply a honey preparation that has tested positive for antibacterial activity, it will enhance wound healing, reduce pain and inflammation, and reduce the risk of wound infection. © 2007 Elsevier Australia

When will it start to work?

Studies have found that by the 7th day of use, most wounds show considerable improvement and healing. Are there any safety issues?

Using sterile honey preparations is recommended.

Tips on how best to use honey in practice*

• Ensure that there is an even coverage of the wound surface.

• Cavities may be filled by pouring in slightly warmed honey.

• Spreading honey on a dressing pad or gauze rather than on the wound directly will be more comfortable for the patient.

• The amount of honey needed depends on the amount of fluid leaking from the wound — if honey becomes diluted, it will be less effective; typically, 20 mL of honey is used on a 10 cm ■ 10 cm dressing.

• Cover with absorbent secondary dressings to prevent honey oozing out from the dressing. Change the dressings more frequently if the honey is being diluted — otherwise change every day or two.

*Adapted from www.worldwidewounds.com and www.manukahoney.co.uk.

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