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As strange as it may seem, maggots

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					                                                                                     Your health
                                                                                           Notes



Maggots worm
back into favour
A
        s strange as it may seem, maggots               untouched.        ZooBiotic’s dressing keeps the
        have been used for centuries to treat           They also         maggots contained in a specially
        wounds. Until the 1940s, ‘surgical              secrete           designed pouch but still allows
maggots’ were a common sight in hospitals.              chemicals that them to cleanse the wound
But the advent of antibiotics – and our                 clean wounds
natural aversion to creepy crawlies – saw               and kill bacteria, which helps a wound to heal.
them all but disappear.                                    People with diabetes are more likely to be
   Even in today’s high-tech culture, though,           admitted to hospital with a foot ulcer than with
many healthcare professionals are recognising           any other diabetic complication – and conventional
the considerable advantages maggot therapy can          treatment can take months to work. However,
offer over conventional treatments for wounds.          maggot therapy can heal ulcers so effectively
To date, it’s estimated that 50,000 people              that many people can be treated in a matter of
worldwide have been treated with medicinal              days without having to stay in hospital. Usually,
quality maggots since the mid 1990s.                    no more than two treatments with maggot therapy
                                                        are required, each lasting a maximum of five days.
Eaten alive?                                               However, for some people (including some
The therapy works because maggots only eat              healthcare professionals), the thought of seeing
dead and infected tissue, leaving healthy tissue        and handling the maggots puts them off the
                                                        treatment. Luckily then, modern medicine has
                                                        developed special dressings that make this
                     Healthy eating just
 Myth:               means buying foods
                                                        treatment more palatable.

                     labelled as healthy                Modern maggots
                                                        “Many health treatments are derived from
  The reality:       Packaging that has the words       nature, and reinvented with a sophisticated
  ‘healthy’ or ‘good for you’ written on it may         modern approach,” explains ZooBiotic Clinical
  help you to identify foods that are lower in fat,     Nurse Advisor Viv Pyatt. ZooBiotic manufactures
  sugar and salt, or higher in fibre, but they won’t    BioFoam dressings, which contain maggots in
  necessarily be all of these. Healthy eating           a sealed pouch that still allows the wound to
  involves choosing a range of foods low in             be cleaned of dead tissue and infection, without
  fat, sugar and salt, including plenty of fruit        the risk of the maggots ever coming into contact
  and vegetables. Variety and balancing choices         with the person receiving the treatment.
  are more important than focusing on low-fat,             “Now that maggots of medicinal quality are
  low-sugar foods alone. And bear in mind that          produced in a sterile environment, and applied
  some foods are naturally low in fat, sugar or salt,   to the patient in a sealed dressing, they are
  or high in fibre, even if it doesn’t say so on the    much more user friendly.”
  packaging. For example, starchy foods such as
  cereals and pastas are always low in fat, yet,        Further information
  confusingly, some brands are promoted as              If you have a foot ulcer or other wound,
  ‘low in fat’, making you think they are               talk to your healthcare professional to find
  healthier than other brands.                          out whether maggot therapy is available
                                                        and suitable for you.


                                                                    January – February 2009 Balance 65

				
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