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Honey used in fight against MRSA at Liverpool hospital

by Lauren Riley. Published Fri 31 Aug 2012 14:34
Dr Val Robson
Dr Val Robson

Patients at a Liverpool hospital have been receiving very sweet care in the fight against MRSA in a pioneering study.

People undergoing surgery for head and neck cancer at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool have had honey applied to their wounds to keep them clean.

Honey has antibacterial qualities because of its high sugar content and has been used alongside regular dressings to protect inpatients from the deadly MRSA.

Dr Val Robson, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Wound Care at Aintree, led the trial for her Professional Doctorate Study.

Patients that had honey applied to their wounds had 36 per cent fewer incidents of infection and there was also a 25 per cent reduction in their average length of stay in hospital.

She said: "All honey has antibacterial qualities because of the high sugar content, low water content and the presence of hydrogen peroxide."

Specialists at the hospital have been using Leptospermum honey, which is Manuka honey from New Zealand and Jelly Bush honey from Australia.

This particular type of honey has been shown to have longer-lasting antibacterial properties.

These are thought to be a result of the flora available to local bees.

Dr Robson wanted to explore how this could be used to prevent infection occurring in surgical wounds.

She approached Professor Simon Rogers, Clinical Director for the Head and Neck Unit at the hospital, and together they put their proposal to the Research and Development department, which gave the study the go ahead.

The honey, called Medihoney, was provided by Derma Sciences Europe Ltd.

During the trial period, 49 patients consented to be involved.

Aintree has reduced MRSA blood stream infections by 80% since 2008/9.

Dr Robson added: "This was a feasibility study but the early indications are positive.

"The reduction in length of stay was unexpected but means there is an opportunity to not only improve infection rates but also make significant cost savings by using honey in this way.

"We will now start exploring opportunities to conduct a much bigger trial."


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"my mum had manuka honey put on her leg ulcer and it healed after many years of different types of ointments that did not work,well done." ian thomson, liverpool around 2 years, 10 months ago

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