Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Silver-Coated Endotracheal Tube & Colloidal Silver

Today's newswire heralded the merits of silver in reducing infections in patients on ventilators:

"A silver-coated endotracheal tube may reduce infections with highly resistant bacteria over traditional tubes by nearly half, according to the results of a large randomized trial to be presented at the American Thoracic Society’s 2008 International Conference in Toronto on Monday, May 19."

Silver is considered by many to offer antimicrobial protection against bad bacteria, fungi, and yeasts (the "eew" stuff that take up residence in our GI tracts, mucous membranes, and other moist environments). Silver-coated bandages and other medical devices, such as catheters, are already in wide commercial use clinically. So, it's not surprising to see silver being used on ventilator tubes.

What piqued my interest is my long-standing antipathy toward colloidal silver, a treatment readily found in health food stores in the "immune system protection" section. Colloidal silver can be a problem when ingested regularly (think: argyria). I am open to the possibility that sprays for nose and throat infections, taken for short periods of time, may be okay.

Even with the silver-coated ventilator tubes endorsed by the Thoracic Society to encourage interest in silver, I would still advise consumers to be careful about colloidal silver products, which can be overused and cause toxicity.

Far better to add genuinely important nutrients to the body to support immune system function rather than to focus on interventions patterned after pharmaceuticals (zap this, prevent that, interrupt another thing in the body). Just my two cents.

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