Chronic wounds have increased inflammation, giving rise to elevated levels of proteases that appear to degrade the extracellular matrix components, growth factors and receptors that are essential for healing. Manuka honey has a low pH, which may help to achieve sub-optimal levels at the wound surface to control protease activity in the wound. This may promote healing, with evidence that a low pH wound environment may be associated with a reduction in wound size. It is likely that the antioxidants in honey also confer anti-inflammatory influences by scavenging free radicals that arise in both acute and chronic wounds.
Manuka honey stimulates the immune system to produce pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are important for wound healing. It is likely this stimulation of the immune system helps to promote progression towards healing.
When are Medihoney™ dressings indicated?
The antibacterial properties of manuka honey indicate a role in the management of locally infected wounds, wounds colonised by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, necrotic or malodorous wounds and, since the establishment of an association between the presence of biofilms and failure to heal, chronic wounds (such as venous leg, diabetic foot and pressure ulcers). In addition, it may be used in patients with fungating lesions, radiotherapy-impaired wounds, burns and surgical incisions, including donor and recipient graft sites.
Patients with leg ulceration and diabetic foot ulcers are at high risk of developing multiple episodes of infection. Identification of local symptoms can promote timely intervention to reduce bacterial bioburden and help to avoid the need for systemic antibiotics. Repeated treatment with antibiotic therapy may increase the risk of the patient developing MRSA and Clostridium difficile infections, which can be costly for the healthcare facility and impact negatively on the patient’s quality of life (Best Practice Statement, 2010).
How to apply Medihoney™ dressings
Patients may present with a variety of challenging wounds so it is essential that the product chosen is able to meet the needs of individual patients. Following a thorough holistic assessment, clinicians need to decide which product to choose to meet the needs of the wound and the patient.
Medihoney™ dressings can be used for all stages of wound healing. There are different preparations that can be used throughout the various stages of wound healing, from highly exudating infected wounds through to epithelialisation.
Tip: When honey is applied to the wound bed, it becomes less viscous and is diluted through exudation. High levels of exudate require more frequent dressing changes to maintain a good therapeutic effect