By Will Grant
Kit issued to soldiers during 2012 Best Ranger Competition
Two innovative products—Oral IV and the 7-Day Bandage—from Warrior Wound Care have found fertile ground in the military and are receiving the backing of the medical industry. Both products employ cutting-edge technologies to keep a body functioning to its highest potential, and both products were part of a first-aid kit issued to soldiers at this year’s Best Ranger Competition.
Oral IV is a 15-milliliter vial of essential minerals and electrolytes. It’s colorless, tasteless, and enables the body to rehydrate quicker and more effectively using crystalloid electrolytes. The 7-Day Bandage is a bioelectric wound covering, infused with silver and zinc, that works with the body’s natural electrolytes to form an electrical current that promotes healing, decreases pain, and kills bacteria, viruses and fungi.
“People ask me how this stuff works,” says Kino Davis, Operations Director at WWC, “and I tell them magic. It’s magic, that’s how it works.”
But it’s not magic, it’s science. And neither technology is new. The body’s ability to more easily absorb crystalloid electrolytes than colloid electrolytes has been known for years, and the healing and anti-bacterial properties of silver, as well as an electric current associated with healing, is nothing new.
What’s new is that these technologies are finally making their ways into the rucksacks of frontline soldiers. Change comes slow to the military, but when something finally makes it through the ranks of the screening process it’s tried and true.
Oral IV is different than nearly every other hydration formula available. Unlike Gatorade and so many other products out there, Oral IV contains no high fructose corn syrup, no sugars, no artificial colors, nothing but straight electrolytes.
But Oral IV’s secret weapon is that the electrolytes are in crystalloid form, which means they’re easier for the body to absorb and metabolize than colloid electrolytes. The body absorbs these smaller electrolytes on a cellular level through any mucosal membrane.
As soon as Oral IV gets into your mouth, you’re replenishing your body. During the recent cholera epidemic in Haiti, patients were treated with Oral IV to curb their dehydration. The patients—mainly children—were unable to digest nearly anything. Everything that went into their bodies, passed right through. So medical personnel started administering Oral IV through patients’ eyes, noses, and ears, and the results were increased hydration.
Speaking of diarrhea, that’s what drove the World Health Organization’s recommendations for rehydration. The leading cause of dehydration is diarrhea, and the WHO drafted its recommendations to confront that. But losing electrolytes and water through aerobic activity is different.
Oral IV approached dehydration from an aerobic perspective. The solution is geared toward replenishing essential vitamins and minerals lost through exercise, workload, and environmental conditions.
Tim Hardy is an endurance athlete who may be using Oral IV at a higher level than any one. Most recently, he ran an ultra-marathon while taking Oral IV every four to six hours and drank only two gallons of water over the course of 135 miles and 55 hours of nearly continuous work.
“I don’t know a lot about cellular metabolism and all that,” he says, “but what I do know is that this stuff works.”
Hardy’s recent race, the Arrowhead 135, is no easy jog on city sidewalks. The race is run on a snowmobile track from International Falls, Minnesota, to Tower, Minnesota, and this year was held January 30 to February 2.
Like all contestants, Hardy carried his essential gear, most it required by race regulations, on a sled behind him. He packed a sleeping bag rated to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, bottles of water, at least 3,000 calories, and a way to melt snow to make more water. His kit weighed between 35 and 38 pounds.
“It’s not a survival race,” Hardy says, “but it’s close. It’s a very, very difficult race. I tried it in 2010 and didn’t finish.”
Throughout the race, Hardy took Oral IV as he felt his energy waning. Twenty minutes or so after taking the solution, he could feel his body rejuvenate.
“A big part of ultra-running,” he says, “is recovering during the race.”
Hardy is glad to see Oral IV showing up in soldiers’ kits. He retired from the Army as a Major after 20 years of service, including time with a Ranger battalion, the 82nd Airborne, and the 10th Mountain Division. No stranger to dehydration through hard work, he’s also well acquainted with the wear and tear of soldiering. That’s why he’s also a proponent of the 7-Day Bandage.
The 7-Day bandage is manufactured by Vomaris, which also developed the product. The technology of the silver and zinc dots impregnated on dressing is called Prosit, and the bandage is called Procellera. Warrior Wound Care distributes the bandages and is the means by which the dressing finds its way to soldiers.
Warrior Wound Care has had a National Stock Number for the 7-Day Bandage for about two years, and the bandage is currently in use with the military. The Federal Drug Administration also endorses the infection-fighting properties of the bio-electric dressing.
Mike Puente is the Sniper Team Leader for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Operations Unit. During a training exercise, a Belgian Malinois bit him and severely injured his left hand, tearing through the flesh to the bone and exposing tendons.
It’s no secret that hand injuries can be career-ending for law enforcement. So four days after getting sewn up in the emergency room, Peunte put the 7-Day Bandage on his wounds. Three days later, inflammation had significantly decreased. Ten days later, his hand started looking normal again.
The bandage accelerated the healing and lessened the pain.
“The bandage had an immediate effect on pain,” he says. “It was almost instantaneous after I put it on. In fact, after my hand injury and applying the bandage, I stopped taking the narcotics prescribed by the doctor.”
Two and a half weeks after his initial hospital visit, Puente went in to have the sutures removed. That was a week and a half earlier than the doctors anticipated.
“I was able to return to full duty almost two months ahead of he doctor’s original schedule,” Puente says. “The hand surgeon actually had a hard time believing the science behind the bandage because it went against what was traditional. But the proof was in the healing and recovery.”
Puente’s hand the day of the injury and two weeks later.
Neither the 7-Day Bandage nor Oral IV are traditional forms of recovery. You almost need a college degree in biology to understand the science behind the technologies, but it’s there, and it’s getting thicker all the time.
The anecdotal evidence supporting these two products is extensive. The scientific evidence is slower to roll in, but supportive nonetheless.
On a personal level, we tested a few samples of Oral IV at Blackwater this past week. Project Manager Monica Wright, who runs four to six miles three or four days a week, took a vial of Oral IV before her lunchtime run.
Upon her return, she said her stride felt freer, her muscles less tight, and that she was hardly tired. She said her posture was better, that she found herself running with her body in a good, upright position more easily.
“I feel great,” she said, “I would have kept going except that I had to be back here.”
We know. We don’t pay Wright to run, so we felt further testing (more miles) was unnecessary.
To read an article about the US Army’s interest in the 7-Day Bandage, go HERE.
To watch an ABC News video on how the bandage is healing the wounds of World War II vets, go HERE.