Pull the udder one! Limerick students prove Sudocrem is good for cows

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

IT is favoured by mothers as a cure for babies’ nappy rash, Cheryl Cole swears by it as a spot treatment – and now two County Limerick schoolgirls have proven that it’s a great remedy to heal cows’ sore udders.

IT is favoured by mothers as a cure for babies’ nappy rash, Cheryl Cole swears by it as a spot treatment – and now two County Limerick schoolgirls have proven that it’s a great remedy to heal cows’ sore udders.

A tub of Sudocrem earned teenagers Meabh Mulachy of Coolcappa, Rathkeale and Mairead O’Donnell of Ballingaddy, Kilmallock the top prize in this year’s SciFest exhibition at Limerick Institute of Technology which attracted over 100 projects from 16 schools across Limerick, Cork, Clare and Tipperary.

Both girls, who are transition year students St Mary’s Secondary school in Charleville, did their research on the family farms run by their dads, Liam Mulcahy and David O’Donnell.

They found that a tub of Sudocrem, which costs a mere €2.26 for 60 grammes, can clear mastitis in a dairy cow just as quickly as widely-used veterinary injections which cost €60 per treatment.

“Myself and my dad are very interested in home remedies and we discovered that Sudocrem actually cures the mastitis in cattle. We came across it by accident actually. We ran out of antibiotics one day and we decided to use Sudocrem to see how it works,” explained 16-year-old Meabh Mulcahy.

“It’s better than antibiotics because its safer. It’s an external cream so no antibiotics will be in their system,” she added. While both the Mulcahys and O’Donnells had been using the treatment for years, they could never pinpoint exactly what it was that gave the Sudocrem such healing powers.

After carrying out some research, the girls discovered that the secret to the success of the cream is the ingredient zinc oxide “which is strong enough to penetrate through the udders and fight the infection”.

“Kerry Co-op in Charleville have been really good to us, testing our milk for us. We also went to UCC for research and Sadie Ryan from Widdess Pharmacy in Limerick has been helping us. Sadie is the person who helped us in terms of the zinc oxide because it is used on horses to help cure bruises and cuts,” Meabh added.

A total of 210 second level students from all over the Mid West including Limerick city and county showcased their impressive scientific discoveries and explorations at SciFest which is part of a series of one-day science fairs that will take place this year at Institutes of Technology across the country.

Almost 100 science projects were displayed at SciFest at LIT with the students delving into a range of investigations.

For instance, studies were carried out into whether technology is taking over our lives, how much bacteria is on make-up, how phosphates have affected pollution levels in Lough Derg, self-sanitising handles and how attentiveness is affected by age.

And with energy conservation on everyone’s mind, a student from Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh designed a simple motor clothes line.

SciFest is funded by Intel Ireland and Discover Science and Engineering as project partners and hosted nationwide by the Institutes of Technology and the University of Ulster.

This year’s runner up prize went to Aideen McLoughlin of Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh for her investigation into the characteristics of what makes a good spout.

The gaelcholaiste picked up a number of awards at the exhibition.

LIT category awards were presented to students from a range of schools across Munster including Limerick’s Castletroy College.

Both Meabh and Mairead will now bring their amazing Sudocrem remedy and additional research to the national final of the SciFest exhibition which is to be held in October.