Sometimes referred to as adhesive bandages or sticking plasters, medical plasters serve a variety of purposes. They help to protect wounds during the healing process. Depending on the plaster's design, it may contain materials that are designed to allow air to come in contact with the affected area. At other times, the plaster provides a contained environment needed to help the wound heal. Considered a basic supply in most first aid kits, plasters come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Here is some key information that will help you understand the function, type, and proper use of these plasters.
What is a Medical Plaster?
Medical plasters are dressings that are intended to provide a layer of protection while a wound, sprain, or break is given time to heal. The most familiar example is the adhesive bandage, a common first aid supply found in most homes. They are also used in medical clinics, doctor offices, hospitals, and other types of medical facilities.
How Long Have Plasters Been Around?
While the concept of covering a wound has been around as long as recorded history, medical plasters proper have only been around for a matter of decades. The history of the modern plaster is usually traced to 1920. The invention was the brainchild of Earle E Dickinson, a US employee of Johnson and Johnson, a prominent medical supplies manufacturer.
The story surrounding the birth of medical plasters has to do with Dickinson's wife. Considered to be somewhat accident-prone, her husband had taken to keeping plenty of gauze and surgical tape around the house. In order to be prepared for an unfortunate event, Dickinson began preparing strips of tape in advance by adding pieces of gauze to the adhesive side and keeping the strips in a roll. This primitive approach served as the prototype for what's known as the sticking plaster.
Johnson and Johnson ran with the idea and began to make pre-packaged plasters in 1921. By 1924, changed from selling rolls of plasters to the basic individual strips that are common today. In no time at al, the adhesive bandage became a staple in homes as well as medical facilities.
Are There Different Types of Plasters?
While the basic functions remain the same, there are different types of medical plasters available today. They vary in more than size and shape. Each type of adhesive bandage provides specific benefits that make it ideal for certain situations.
Blister plasters are designed to wick away moisture from the covered site. This kind of plaster also provides some cushioning that helps to absorb any direct hit to the affected area. Typically, these kinds of medical plasters are a little thicker than other varieties.
Blue plasters are often worn by individuals who have sustained small wounds on their hands. It's not unusual for people who work in the food service industry to reply on this type of bandage. They're reinforced with small metal bands that help to prevent the plaster from slipping out of position while working with the hands. These plasters are often water-resistant.
Stretch plasters are sometimes shaped differently from the rectangular design of other plasters. That's because they are intended to help pull the to sides of a wound together, making the healing process a little easier. This plaster design may have protrusions or wings that provide additional resistance to slippage.
What Are Plasters Used For?
Medical plasters are generally used to cover small wounds and protect the areas from contamination of different kinds. Limiting the amount of bacteria present helps the body's natural healing abilities to close the would by forming a scab. The plasters also help to prevent wounds from opening again if the covered area sustains some type of direct hit.
Each of the different types of plasters are intended for use with certain kinds of wounds. Generally, all of them are small wounds, burns, blisters or skin irritations that require some protection during the healing process.
Why Use Medical Plasters At All?
Medical plasters are intended to protect wounds and also protect other people from exposure to those wounds. For the injured party, the wound dressing plasters prevent dirt and grime from getting into the wound while it heals. The plasters also absorb blood or fluids that would otherwise slow down the process of healing. Indirectly, the plasters prevent others from being exposed to body fluids and running the risk of some type of infection.
What Are Plasters Made Of?
Each of the different types of medical plasters are made of some type of gauze or other material capable of absorbing or wicking moisture away from the wound. Several different materials may be used for the adhesive sheets that make up the bodies of medical plasters. Those materials include some sort of woven fabric, plastic, polyurethane, latex, or polyethylene. The adhesive proper is often an acrylate or some type of vinyl resin.
Are Most Medical Plasters Waterproof?
Many kinds of medical plasters are designed to be waterproof. This is especially helpful with options like blue plasters. Since someone working in a restaurant or other food service facility might have the hands exposed to water or other liquids, these plasters are often designed to repel liquids of all types.
Never assume that an adhesive bandage is waterproof. The quality and the materials used for different plasters varies widely. While the bandage may work fine in terms of wicking body fluids into the gauze, the bandage should not allowed to get wet from the outside. Always check the guidelines for use that come with the plasters. Those guidelines are typically printed on the outside of the container or found in small sheets inserted with the plasters.
How Often Should You Change Plasters?
Most varieties of medical plasters are intended to be changed on a daily basis. This provides the opportunity to check the wound and do any cleaning that's needed. The fresh gauze that are part of most First Aid plasters also makes it possible for the bandage to absorb any ongoing wound seepage.
Keep in mind that some wound dressing plasters may be left in place for longer periods. Some types of bandages intended to hold in rather than remove moisture may be worn for two days before a change is necessary.
How Do You Remove Plaster Marks From Skin?
Depending on the type of adhesive used with the plaster, there may be some residue left on the skin. One of the most common ways to deal with the plaster marks is to apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball. Rub the ball over the area where the marks from the First Aid plasters are present, then pat the area with a dry cloth. It may be necessary to rub the area two or more times to remove all of the residue.
Once all signs of the medical plasters are removed, wash the area lightly using an antibacterial soap and a little water. Rinse the area well and pat it dry using a fresh clean cloth. This helps to get rid of any lingering traces of the rubbing alcohol.
Medical plasters should be part of every home first-aid kit. Check the supply regularly and make sure you have plasters in several different sizes. Remember that along with the basic rectangular design, keep small ones that are ideal for covering tiny puncture wounds. You also want a few on hand that will adhere to wounds located on knees, elbows, and other joints. Keeping a variety on hand allows you to be ready for just about any type of scratch or other small wound that you might sustain.