First Aid Kit Basics: Bandage Types

If there's one thing a first aid kit wouldn't be complete without, it's bandages. The variety of bandage shapes, sizes, and materials can be a little overwhelming for anyone unfamiliar with first aid. Get to know your first aid kit a little better by familiarizing yourself with the basic bandage types available in most kits.

First Aid Kit Basics: Bandage Types

Adhesive Bandage

Adhesive bandages are something you've most likely encountered in your day to day life. Each bandage features a strip of flexible material that is sticky on one side, a small piece of absorbent pad, and a coated paper covering. They are available in a variety of sizes and brands.

You're most likely to use an adhesive bandage when dealing with a minor wound. After cleaning the wound and applying an antibacterial ointment, remove an appropriately sized adhesive bandage from its packaging. Lay the absorbent pad against the wound, then attach the bandage using the sticky strips. Change the bandage if it gets dirty or wet.

Roller Bandage

Roller bandages are a common sight in first aid kits. Consisting of a continuous strip of cotton gauze or crepe, they're well suited for a number of first aid applications. These bandages come in a spectrum of elasticities. The more elastic a roller bandage is, the better it is for applying pressure to a wound.

To use a roller bandage, start by applying a sterile dressing to a clean wound. Begin by holding the rolled end of the bandage (known as the head) up, then slowly wrap the bandage around the dressing. Work your way up from the bottom, going an inch at a time. Ensure you have enough coverage by overlapping each layer of bandage by a third as you go. When you reach the end of the dressing, secure and cut off the bandage.

Triangular Bandage

A triangular bandage is suited for creating slings. This makes them useful for supporting injuries to soft tissue and immobilizing broken bones. Triangular bandages are generally made of thick cotton.

Correct use of a triangular bandage depends greatly on the type of injury you're using it to address. Refer to the first aid instruction booklet found in any well-stocked first aid kit to learn more about how to best use this bandage.

Tubular Bandage

Tubular bandages are almost exactly how they sound: tubes of thick, elasticized gauze. They are available in different widths and strengths. These bandages are best used for compression and immobilizing joints.

The application of tubular bandages is relatively simple: slowly slide it up the affected limb until it covers the injured body part.

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