Advanced treatments of wounds using silver-infused bandages and dressings.

Because of the metal’s antibacterial properties both Curad and Band-Aid have come out with a new line of silver-infused bandages.

Silver has been used for thousands of years as a healing and preventive health product. Treating wounds with silver was common from the 1800s to the mid-1900s when the use of antibiotics took precedence in the medical field. However, silver is still utilised in many medical circumstances. Newborn infants’ eyes are treated with silver to prevent infection. Hospitals use a silver treatment to dress scars and wounds, especially wounds that resist healing. Catheters are lined with silver to prevent infection and water is purified with silver. Now silver is coming to the at-home health care market.

Silver is incorporated into the wound pad of the new bandages which come in a variety of sizes. They can be used to treat cuts, scrapes and burns. No antibacterial spray or ointment (such as Neosporin) should be used with these bandages because it may hamper the silver’s healing properties. Although scientists and health professionals have warned about the rise of “super-germs,” microbes that have become resistant to antibiotic treatments, bacteria seems unable to build up a resistance to silver. Silver interferes with the bacteria in at least three ways: by interacting with the cell membrane, binding to the DNA of cells, and blocking the metabolism of the bacteria. It reduces the growth of hundreds of different types of bacteria, including some that do not normally react to pharmaceutical antibacterial agents. Because silver blocks the growth and spread of germs through multiple mechanisms, it is hard for bacteria to build up resistance. Unlike some other metals, silver is not poisonous to the body—only to harmful microbes. It is also not addictive, and is very difficult to overdose on. In addition to hundreds of years of practical use, recent scientific studies on humans and animals have shown that wounds treated with silver heal at a faster rate than those treated without silver.

Silver dressings are used regularly in the hospital setting to help control infections in major wounds and burns. Now, consumers can use silver for at-home first aid emergencies with the Curad® Silver Bandage line. Curad® Silver Bandages use silver in the wound pad, which acts as a natural antibacterial. Laboratory testing showed that silver reduced bacterial growth like Staph. aureaus, E. coli, E. hirae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the dressing for 24 hours.

Doctors at a dozen hospitals are testing a new type of bandage that has silver included in the dressing. The new bandage is expected to promote faster healing and reduce pain for patients, especially those who have suffered bums.

Currently, doctors use silver-sulfadiazine cream to coat wounds because silver inhibits bacteria. However, most burns need to be cleaned and redressed every 12 hours which is painful. Pain is caused by exposure to air. The new dressing needs to be changed only once every 24 hours cutting the patient’s discomfort by half.