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Antimicrobial

Antimicrobial dressings play an important part in wound care in the prevention and management of infection. Antimicrobials are agents that kill micro-organisms. These dressings refer to wound dressings which have an antiseptic agent incorporated in them and does not include products or dressings which incorporate antibiotics. Partly due to the rising prevalence of drug-resistant antibiotics, these antimicrobial dressings incorporating antiseptic agents are now increasingly being used in wound management.

Antimicrobial dressings are applied topically to the wound where they exert a broad spectrum of non-selective antibacterial action including resistant strains. They act at multiple sites within microbial cells, thus reducing the likelihood of bacteria developing resistance. This helps to explain their relatively low levels of bacterial resistance. This is unlike antibiotics which act selectively against bacteria.

The dressings are suitable for use on broken skin and are non irritant and non toxic to tissue. The use of dressings impregnated with antimicrobial agents has been studied regarding chronic wound care and in surgical wounds and where microbial contamination has resulted in delayed wound healing or infection. These studies have revealed that the antimicrobial dressings are important in preventing bacterial penetration through the dressing as well as any pre-existing bacteria within the wound site.

Antimicrobial dressings include silver impregnated dressings and non-silver dressings. Silver dressings are very effective in treating chronic wounds especially those that cannot heal using conventional treatment. The presence of silver in the dressing can effectively bind and destroy RNA and DNA of the bacteria and bacterial cell structures. The silver dressings can be used to treat burn wounds, venous leg ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers and other types of chronic wounds.

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