A color-changing bandage may just change how we treat infections.
In the United States, more than 300 kids end up in the hospital for burn injuries every day.
Antibiotics are often part of routine burn treatment — even if the kids don't need them. We've all had experiences like this. It can take up to two days for a doctor to diagnose an infection, so we're given antibiotics as a "just to be safe" measure ... even if our injury isn't infected.
As a result, antibiotic resistance is now considered one of the biggest health threats we face today. Our overuse of antibiotics is leading to record high levels of antibiotic resistance, and infections and injuries that have been treatable for a long time may once again become difficult to get rid of.
But! Fear not! There's a brilliant new bandage out there that promises to help doctors cut down on doling out unnecessary antibiotics.
It's all about what turns neon green.
Developed by scientists at the University of Bath, this bandage-of-the-future is a special medical dressing that can determine if a wound becomes infected and get results faster than anything else out there today.
The so-called "best bandage ever" uses UV light to provide the answers people need ... fast.
These bandages contain nanocapsules that contain a dye that bursts open in the presence of disease-causing bacteria. Bright green = infection.
As I mentioned before, it can take doctors up to two days to determine if a burn wound is infected. For young kids and their weak immune systems, two days untreated can become a dangerous situation when dealing with infection — or not.
"Children are at particular risk of serious infection from even a small burn," explained Dr. Amber Young. "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.
So it's understandable why antibiotics have been prescribed as precautionary measures for so long.
But with the arrival of these nanocapsule bandages, the future is now; an infection diagnosis is possible within just a few hours, giving doctors the green light to act fast and know exactly what steps are necessary.
This breakthrough can help put families at ease, cut down on hospital costs, and limit the use of unnecessary antibiotics – which has turned into a serious problem.
There's a reason the World Health Organization has launched its first-ever World Antibiotic Resistance Week. If we're not careful, common infections that have been easily treatable in the past will come back to cause some major problems.
This bandage saves the day in two amazing ways: speedy and more accurate diagnoses for infections and fewer unnecessary antibiotics.
For anyone who's been severely burned or injured, you know there's nothing you want more than fast solutions and less hospital time. A diagnosis in two days versus a diagnosis in a few hours is huge!
Nanocapsules to the rescue! Glow on (but preferably don't!), my tiny friends.
See them in action here: