Health Watch: Fighting Germs With Silver & Copper
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Fighting germs. More and more people are turning to unlikely sources to prevent infections. Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl is On Your Side with more on some products that are now available over the counter.
Got a cut, grab the antibiotic ointment to prevent skin infections.
But over use has created superbugs, infections that are antibiotic resistant.
Now heavy metal is doing some heavy lifting in the battle against bacteria.
“I think it’s amazing” said Lee Sherman, of Neshaminy. He is using the metal silver to treat an ulcer on his foot.
“The healing process is, is so much faster,” said Lee.
James McGuire, Director of the Center For Advanced Wound Healing at Temple University, recommends dressings, infused with tiny silver particles to his patients. Silver has antimicrobial powers.
“The bacteria don’t grow, and the wound does not get infected. You don’t get any sepsis and you heal faster,” says McGuire.
Silver can also fight an infection, but it’s not the only germ-fighting agent. Copper also has healing powers.
“That actually kills the bacteria and fungus in the sock,” said McGuire.
There are a variety of products infused with copper, including footwear, bedding, body wear, and towels. They’re supposed to limit growth of bacteria, fungi, even dust mites.
“You only notice you have something better and different once you start seeing some of the results,” said Dr. Phyllis Levine, an oncologist who’s on her feet all day. She wears copper socks and says they’re helping her feet feel and look better.
“I really started noticing amazing differences. That the dryness, the scaliness was going away,” said Dr. Levine.
The maker, Cupron, claims the copper stimulates a skin protein, and also fights bacteria and fungus, linked to athletes foot.
As proof, the company points to the trapped Chilean miner who developed severe athlete’s foot. They were given the socks, and when rescued over a month later their feet were said to be in excellent condition.
“I think copper is probably one of the most amazing things out in the world that can really have a huge health benefits to people,” said Dr. Levine.
There are some skeptics who say there isn’t enough science to prove the healing powers of metal products. But hospitals have been using silver dressings for some time.
Reported by Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3