A New Bandage Made From Shrimp?

It sounds strange, but it is true! Chitosan from shellfish is the main component for this new bandage!

A shrimp bandage?

“The HemCon bandage contains chitosan (pronounced KY-ta-san), an organic substance found in crustacean shells. Scientists have long known that chitosan stops bleeding, but Wiesmann and Gregory were the first to develop a chitosan bandage. HemCon’s process starts with chitosan processed in Iceland from shrimp shells. After mixing it with acetic acid and turning it into a gel, the material is cast into tiles, each four inches square and a bit more than half an inch thick. The squares are then freeze-dried in a vacuum chamber, compressed to about half their original thickness, and backed with a thin sheet of brown plastic. Now looking like a square beer coaster-and smelling slightly of vinegar-each bandage is sealed in foil and sterilized by gamma radiation. When placed on a wound, the chitosan bandage sticks to surrounding tissue and creates a seal that blocks the flow of blood. The bandage also promotes clotting because blood cells and platelets carry a negative electrical charge and are attracted to chitosan, which bears a positive charge. Chitosan even has antibacterial properties, so it helps ward off infection until a patient reaches a medical facility, where the dressing can be peeled off easily. The bandage has stopped severe bleeding from combat wounds more than nine times out of ten, according to an Army study. Unlike a coagulant powder used by the Marine Corps, which might burn healthy tissue, the HemCon bandage causes no tissue damage.”

Strange… but true!

One comment

  • I am concerned by this idea. Yes it sounds wonderful, but what of the people who are allergic to shellfish? Will it not affect them? How is anyone to know who is allergic to shellfish? I am highly concerned about this!

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