Silver Wound Dressings In Modern Medicine
Silver is one metal that has long been valued by man for more than just its monetary value. Healers, medical researchers, traditional doctors, and holistic practitioners use silver routinely in a variety of different ways in the treatment of wounds to the human body. Silver is a known antibacterial agent that when applied topically and can also help to speed healing even in very significant wounds. It is very effective in ridding stubborn types of infections and even in assisting in the healing of severely infected burn patients.
How silver works to counter infections such as bacteria, viruses, and various types of fungal infections is not completely understood. Silver can and does change enzymes in the body that are essential for these invaders to thrive and multiply. Silver, when applied to wounds in silver wound dressing, is actually absorbed slowly into the body and provides significant antibacterial action for several days after silver wound dressings are applied. Most silver wound dressings are designed to be left on the body for longer periods of time than traditional dressings, often as long as seven days depending on the specific brand and silver content.
Other silver wound dressings may be faster acting and become absorbed by the body when the fluid from the wound comes in contact with the silver on the dressing. In these types of silver wound dressings, the silver is actually contained with in the core of the dressing and requires moisture from the wound to be effective. Typically, all dressings containing silver will be used on wet wounds with moderate to significant production of exudate. Dry wounds are not appropriate for these types of dressings since the silver is not exposed to the moisture for absorption by the body.
Silver wound dressings are sometimes used in conjunction with treatment of Staphylococcus aureus and other highly resistant types of conditions. Since the silver is not another medication, it is a good option when the patient has pre-existing conditions that may be impacting the effectiveness of the immune system. With no complications or counter indications for use this is a very safe alternative for wound treatment in these patients. The other good news about silver wound dressings is that research has shown very little chance of resistance to being to build in the body with ongoing use. This is particularly important in patients with chronic lesions and wounds such as diabetes, bed-ridden patients with pressure sores, and patient's with immune disorders.
Silver wound dressings come in a variety of options including a film, adhesive sterile pads, smaller bandage types of applications, and even combined with other dressings such as calcium alginate for moisture retention and increased wound healing potential. The silver is non-reactive with other types of dressings, however using a topical cream or ointment will prevent the moisture layer from touching both the skin and the silver, minimizing or eliminating the antibacterial properties of the silver wound dressing.
Silver wound dressings can be used on burns, skin grafts, cuts and lacerations, incisions, rashes, minor skin irritations, punctures or any type of skin ulcer. Choosing the right type of dressing will depend on the size of the wound and it's location on the body.
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