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Introduction to Cohesive Bandages

There are many first aid bandages available, all designed to serve in different applications. Sometimes the range of options may trigger some overwhelm in terms of what to use and when - so stay tuned to read about cohesive bandages. 

What is a cohesive bandage?

Short answer: a cohesive bandage is a flexible, conformable and self adhering bandage that sticks to itself with ease but does not do the same for other surfaces. 

  • Cohesive bandages won’t stick to hair, clothes or skin - and can be highly convenient for many purposes. 
  • These include joint/muscle injuries, sprains, wound management or securing wound dressings and even sporting applications! 
  • They are easy to apply, comfortable and breathable - to name a few benefits. 
  • Other advantages include easy use, versatile multi-purpose usage potential, excellent joint/limb support and very high flexibility or ability to conform. 
Cohesive Bandage

When to Use a Cohesive Bandage

Cohesive bandages can prove an immensely handy addition to your first aid supplies and have numerous uses.

They have become quite popular in the sporting industry, because the nature of the bandage means it provides very good support to injured joints.

Cohesive bandages hence can be very useful for many common injuries in both a sporting and general context.

What is a cohesive bandage? 

  • A cohesive bandage is essentially a bandage form that has the advantage of sticking/adhering to itself, but not doing the same for other surfaces. 
  • The bandage itself is made of non-woven fibres; which is easy to wrap around limbs, joints and muscles for a variety of first aid purposes. 

  • They are highly flexible and comfortable, and can be particularly useful for hard to reach or access areas as a result. 
  • Due to being self adhering, they are able to naturally remain in place - and can be very convenient to secure or support joints/muscles or wound dressings. 

Some common applications of cohesive bandages include: 

  • Providing support to joints that have sustained injury (e.g rolled joints, ankle sprains and so on) 
  • General wound care and management, including: cuts, blisters, mild wounds, scrapes and mild burns 

Cohesive bandages provide much needed coverage to the area, helping to ensure it stays clean and is protected from any potential bacteria.

They can also be used to secure various dressings to the wound (such as gauze), ensuring they stay in place.

Wound dressings can then be changed regularly as needed.

There are many additional benefits of using cohesive bandages for this purpose, which we cover more in the below section (see benefits of cohesive bandages) .

Note: seek medical attention for severe wounds.

  • Sport or medical related applications, such as securing an IV in place 
  • This one strays a little from solely first aid applications, but cohesive bandages have actually become pretty popular in the sporting industry.

    They can be used for various purposes, even things like knee pads!

    In a medical setting, cohesive bandages can also be used to secure IV lines in place - as well as surgical dressings.

  • Supporting muscle injuries or immobilisation (in a similar manner to joints) 
  • Trauma or other related injuries 

What is a Cohesive Bandage Made Of? 

Generally, cohesive bandages are composed of non-woven material and elastic fibres, coupled with some sort of adhesive that allows the bandage to self adhere.

Typically, the fibres themselves can be a blend of cotton, polymer or latex.

Note: some cohesive bandages are latex free, which accommodates individuals who may have latex sensitivity. 

  • If you have an allergy to latex, opt for a latex free option. 
  • Manufacturers of cohesive bandages will typically include this in their product specifications - so check there. 

This combination results in a stretchy and easily conformable material that can be successfully wrapped around a variety of areas.

Adhesive ingredients may vary, but typically all serve the same purpose and provide consistent results.

Note: 

Cohesive bandages are not really possible to tear by hand, so they should be best used with a pair of scissors or shears.

Make sure you have some on hand in your first aid kit to cut your bandage to the desired size/length.

Cohesive Bandage

Benefits of Using a Cohesive Bandage 

There are many convenient and desirable benefits of cohesive bandages, so let’s take a look at some of the potential reasons you may select one for various uses. 

Usage advantages of cohesive bandages: 

  • Firstly, the primary advantage is they will not stick to other surfaces; including skin, hair and clothes 
  • However, they are very effective in terms of being self sticking/adhering.

    We all know that removing a bandage in an area that has hair present can be quite an unpleasant (and unintentional) “waxing” experience!

    This is one of the unique properties of the bandage, because it makes it possible to get a good hold - without having the bandage stick to all surrounding areas/surfaces.

  • Does not leave a sticky residue behind (as can be the case with certain adhesive bandages) 
  • The bandage is self-adhering, but won’t give you that lasting residue or stickiness that some other adhesive bandage options (like some band-aids, for instance) may. 

  • Offers excellent support to joints and muscles (and secures wound dressings very well too!) 
  • This is a crucial benefit - cohesive bandages offer incredibly good support to joints, muscles or areas of injury.

    Wrapping a sprain, limb, joint, injury or securing a wound dressing is hence made very easy.

    Note: 

    When using a cohesive bandage and wrapping your injury, you are going for a hold that is firm - but not so tight that it cuts off circulation.

    Make sure to simply secure/compress the area in place.

  • No clips required 
  • Whilst some other bandages require clips for use, this is not the case with a cohesive bandage.

    Simply wrap and go!

  • Soft, breathable, comfortable 
  • The lightweight material blend of a cohesive bandage offers numerous benefits when it comes to user comfort.

    They are soft, often lightweight and breathable/airy due to the elastic qualities.

    This is very important when it comes to working with an injury, particularly something sensitive like a wound or a sprained joint.

    A cohesive bandage gives you flexibility over the pressure you apply.

    This ensures you can choose a degree that is not too loose and not too tight.

  • Easily conformable/stretchable 
  • As touched on above, they are highly flexible and conformable.

    The elastic properties means the bandage is very easy to stretch and quite malleable, allowing you a lot of control during use.

    You are given control over a tight or more loose wrapping, which is a big advantage.

    They can even stretch for up to double their original length as you pull!

  • Permits you to reach the hard to reach areas 
  • Areas like joints (which can be uncomfortable/hard to wrap due to natural curvature and bumps) can be easily reached.

    Other hard to reach examples are your back or some areas of your limbs.

  • Very simple, easy and convenient to use 
  • Versatile; can be used in many applications, including common ones such as sporting injuries 
  • Having a cohesive bandage on hand in the event it is needed may offer effectiveness for a range of situations, and many common ones such as wounds or sporting injuries.

    They are highly adaptable and versatile, and this makes them an excellent staple to keep in a first aid kit.

How Long Can a Cohesive Bandage Be Used? 

How long your cohesive bandage lasts for may depend on the specific application it is being used for. 

Take a common usage - wound care, for instance.

In this case, it will be safe practice to maintain your wound and replace the dressing pretty regularly.

 Every day or 2 is a good idea and should suffice.

The reason for this is it is important to prevent infection and ensure constant clean coverage of the wound, especially while it heals.

This is particularly the case if it is a very moist wound/contains quite a bit of blood, discharge or exudate.

In general, a clean bandage is always a good idea - so while it is not necessary to be excessive, make sure you regularly replace your bandages.

Cohesive Bandage

Related Questions:

Where can I purchase cohesive bandages? 

Most major chemist retailers, first aid shops and online medical supplies/first aid stores stock cohesive bandages!

Some sporting goods stores may even have them available.

How do cohesive bandages come? 

Typically, cohesive bandages are available in rolls - which may vary in terms of length or thickness depending.

Either way, you can stretch the amount desired and use the roll in this manner as needed - wrapping the material around your wound or injury.

Takeaway: 

Cohesive bandages are a highly versatile, flexible and comfortable bandage option for many first aid settings.

Their usage potential is extensive, and you may use them for many purposes and common injuries.

If you regularly engage in sport or you are looking for a good multi-purpose first aid bandage, a cohesive bandage is an excellent choice.

Make sure to replace the bandage as needed, and replenish first aid kit supplies!

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