'Special' honey to help infections

January 8, 2009 3:09:52 PM PST
Fighting skin infections can be difficult these days. One Long Island man was having a rough time of it when his medical team turned to a new product made with honey.

First and most importantly, nobody should pour honey on an infection. It could make things worse. But honey does have some healing properties and specially treated honey is now used in one medical product.

The bacterial and fungal infection on Franklin Lloyd's lower leg is still healing.

"I've never had an infection like this," said Lloyds. "In fact this is a very rare one that only 27 people in the world have the infection."

Mr. Lloyd's infection was caused by Cryptococcus yeast. He began a course of treatment with Veraconozol, an anti-fungal drug that was not strong enough to destroy the infection by itself the wound grew until it encompassed most of the area from his right knee to his ankle.

After new medication was used to treat the yeast infection, Mr. Lloyd was left with a large ulcerated wound encompassing most of the calf of his right leg. As the wound healed, the threat of bacterial super-infections continued, along with the problem of Escar (dead skin that forms over a wound and impedes healing). For this, a dressing was needed that had anti-bacterial properties.

A special dressing used over a month's time that is saturated with a medical honey helped the healing according to his health team.

The product is called medi-honey and it's made from a potent honey from Australia and New Zealand where the honeybees feed on unique shrubs.

Nurse Mary Brennan was the first to suggest they try it. "I read about it in our journals specifically looking at wounds that were difficult to heal," she said.

They were at the point of using surgery to cut out the dead tissue on Mr. Lloyds infected leg.

If the treatment had not stopped the infection, amputation of the leg could have been the next step.

But after a month of wrapping the leg, the medi-honey made a difference.

"It helped us remove the scar scab?and helped us heal the wound," said Dr. Marcia Epstein.

Mr. Lloyd is a kidney transplant patient and had also feared losing his kidney, but happily all has worked out well for him.

Medi-honey was approved by the FDA last year for use with wounds and burns. It helps get rid of dead tissue.

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