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Dublin: 19°C Sunday 25 July 2021

Irish hospitals using maggots, honey and silver to cure wounds

Silver can help clean the bacteria out of a wound and, believe it or not, maggots will make it smell better.

Image: maggots image via Shutterstock

IRISH DOCTORS ARE reverting back ancient methods to cure wounds, including the use of honey, maggots and even silver.

As part of series of public lectures tonight, experts from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) will explain how these methods are used and look at ways in which the cost of wound management could be brought down in the health service.

Professor Zena Moore, Head of the RCSI School of Nursing and Midwifery said the increasing use of antibiotics by patients has resulted in resistance to them and between 25 and 50 per cent of Irish hospital beds are occupied by wound patients as a result. One problematic wound can cost up to €10,000 per patient.

To solve this problem, healthcare professionals are now looking at alternative ways of treating wounds, often using ancient remedies.

Moore told TheJournal.ie that a lot of work has gone into developing maggot therapy over the last number of years and they now come in a handy teabag form to make it easier for any squeamish nurses or patients.

“Sometimes it’s moreso like that from the staff than a patient because if you have a really horrendous wound, you’re in a lot of pain and there’s a terrible smell associated with it so when we say it will get rid of that smell they’re not thinking about the maggots,” she explained.

Something many of you may not know is that silver is a hugely important product in wound treatment.

“It really does have an important role to play,” Moore said. “In wounds that have too much bacteria, it can be used to get rid of the bacteria”.

The professor said the key thing with managing wounds is to get the right diagnosis so that healthcare professionals can decide whether antibiotics are the best course of action or if one of these more alternative treatments could be used.

The open lecture series tonight is free of charge but you have to register if you plan to go along.

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