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Acceptability and Safety of Honey Dressings in Premature and Term Infants

Presented at the Neonatal Society 2013 Autumn Meeting.

Lee V, McInnes D, Leslie A, Dorling J

University of Nottingham, Division of Child Health, Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Department of Neonatology, Nottingham University Hospital

Background: Honey dressings have been demonstrated in children and adults to have important anti-infective and wound healing properties (1). Mechanisms of action include osmotic action on bacteria and other organisms and anti-inflammatory action without inhibition of cell growth. They have yet to be adequately studied in newborn infants. We undertook a feasibility study to determine if they are safe and acceptable to staff and parents. 

Methods: Following written informed parental consent, a questionnaire was given to the parents of babies treated with Active Manuka Honey Dressings to examine the acceptability and performance of the dressings (Advancis Activon Tulle). Members of staff who applied and removed the dressings during the 9 month study period completed a similar questionnaire. The study was funded by Bliss and fully approved by the Nottingham Research Ethics Committee.

Results: 82% of participants were male and 18% female. Median gestational age at birth was 25 weeks (range 166 – 284 days), median age at entry into the study was 6 days (2 – 64 days). Median birth weight, 770g, (500- 5305g). 28 wounds were dressed using the Active Manuka Honey dressings on 8 different types of wounds. No infant developed hyperglycaemia that was felt to be due to the dressings.

Acceptability and Safety of Honey Dressings in Premature and Term Infants

Conclusion: Honey dressings were easy to apply, well tolerated and associated with little pain on application or removal. No infant required pain relief treatment escalation and none developed hyperglycaemia that was felt to be due to the honey dressings. These results suggest that honey dressings are safe and useful dressings in newborn babies.

Corresponding author: jon.dorling@nottingham.ac.uk

1. Jull AB, Rodgers A, Walker N. Honey as a topical treatment for wounds. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008. Issue 4, Art. No.: CD005083. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005083.pub2

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