Manuka Honey Fights MRSA Infection

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I’ve always loved September. I loved the crispness in the air, the sounds of a football game, the feel of brand new textbooks. OK, so I was kind of a nerd.  But school was easier when I was young. For one thing, there were no MRSA infections to worry about.

MRSA is a staph bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics. The bacteria infects you when your skin’s protective barrier is disrupted by small scrapes or other injuries. Once it has a foothold, it can spread aggressively leading to painful, even dangerous infections.

School-age athletes are particularly vulnerable to MRSA because the bacteria likes to spread in locker rooms and on contaminated sports equipment (but not on chemistry flasks, so I guess I would have been safe).

Because the bacteria is resistant to many antibiotics, it is difficult to treat. In rare cases, it can be life threatening, defying all medical therapies.

One of the ways we can reduce the risk of drug resistant bacteria like MRSA is to reduce our use of antibiotics. Researchers at the University of Wales Institute have been working on this problem and looked at an old home remedy to treat infection: honey. Honey has natural antibacterial properties and has been used to aid in wound healing. But, they asked, how would honey fare against MRSA, the staph superbug?

They found that in the laboratory, manuka honey does kill MRSA bacteria. If it turns out that it also works when applied to real patients, then we might be able to use medicinal honey to treat minor cuts and abrasions or to treat superficial staph infections without resorting to antibiotics. However, don’t try try this at home, as yet, this is not yet an approved, safe treatment for staph infections.

Staph infections, especially MRSA infections, can be serious. If you suspect that you or your child has a staph infection, then see a physician.