Colour-changing bandaid could become the future of health care

By Kate Hassett

Colour-changing bandaid could become the future of health care
Innovative technology could end anti-biotic resistant cases and improve health worldwide

To tackle the increasing number of people showing immunity, or becoming anti-biotic resistant, doctors have begun research into preventative medicine that could stop one of the biggest health threats in its tracks.

Developed by scientists at the University of Bath, the special dressing that resembles an everyday bandage, can determine infection before even the earliest symptoms appear.

This preventative medicine will have the ability to stop overuse of antibiotics leading to a global resistance that could have serious ramifications if left unresolved.

The bandages work by utilising UV light to provide doctors with an insight into whether a burn, cut or other sore could become infectious.

The bandages contain nanocapsules that contain a dye which disperses once a presence of disease-causing bacteria is detected.

Once an infection has been detected the bandage turns bright green.

“A major challenge for clinicians working with child patients is bacterial infection at the site of first and second degree burns.

“Infection can lead to greater pain, increased scarring, longer hospital stays and even sudden death. The big problem for clinicians is the fast diagnosis of infection. Clinicians currently have to remove the dressing to test for infection, which may result in slower healing and potentially life-long scarring, and is very distressing for the child,” says a statement on the University website.

The issue of misdiagnosis is also a common occurrence in the medical field, especially when children are concerned.

“Children are at particular risk of serious infection from even a small burn, ” says Dr. Amber Young, the Clinical Lead for the Healing Foundation Children’s Burns Research Centre at Bristol Children’s Hospital.

“However, with current methods clinicians can’t tell whether a sick child might have a raised temperature due to a serious bacterial burn wound infection, or just from a simple cough or cold.”

Once the dressing has had proven results, the team at Bath University hope to begin an international roll-out of the product which will see hospitals all over the world change the way they approach treatment of infection.

“Being able to detect infection quickly and accurately with this wound dressing will make a real difference to the lives of thousands of young children by allowing doctors to provide the right care at the right time, and also, importantly, reduce the global threat of antibiotic resistance,” says Young.

 

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