Honey dressings have important anti-infective and wound healing properties in adults but have not been adequately studied in newborns. Osmotic and antinflammatory effects are believed to be important mechanisms of action. We carried out a pre-trial feasibility study and assessed safety and acceptability to staff and parents.
Methods Following informed parental consent, babies were recruited to an observational study of Active Manuka Honey Dressings (Advancis Activon Tulle). Parents completed a questionnaire examining the acceptability and performance of the dressings and staff members who used the dressings filled out a similar questionnaire. The study was fully approved by the Nottingham 2 Research Ethics Committee and funded by Bliss.
Results 28 wounds (8 different types) were dressed using the Active Manuka Honey dressings. 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, 770 g, (500- 5305 g). Other parents declined to take part due to not wishing to disturb the dressing applied whilst considering taking part. Surgeons expressed strong preferences for other dressings. Analysis of predictive variables for time to wound healing did not identify any associations
Conclusions Honey Dressings were easy to apply, well tolerated, with little pain on application or removal but there were fewer wounds than expected.
No infant required escalation of pain relief or developed hyperglycaemia felt to be due to the dressings. These results suggest that Honey dressings are safe but that a trial may be challenging.