There are a lot of things we don’t think about but should. For example, do Band-Aids expire? In an emergency, getting medical care or even clean water to wash a wound can be difficult or even impossible. That’s when trivial things like a box of Band-Aids suddenly become much more important. Though you need to inspect all your emergency supplies regularly, medical equipment is the most important. All the water, light, heat, self-defense, and food in the world won’t save you if a cut on your finger goes septic when SHTF. Stopping to wash and cover small cuts is not important when you have a running shower and access to a hospital. When things go bad and society crumbles around you, it could mean the difference between life and death. I’ll show you what you need to know about Band-Aids so you can stay healthy. Having unexpired bandages matters more than you think.
Do Band-Aids expire? Band-Aids do not have expiration dates, but they could eventually expire. Because adhesives become less effective and dry over time, your Band-Aids may someday stop sticking. Moreover, a damaged, wet package usually isn’t good for much. However, a good pack of Band-Aids will still last for years. Please keep them in a dry location, and you have what you need in an emergency.
What Happens If You Use an Expired Bandage?
Band-Aids may not expire traditionally, but the glue and sterile pads can become less effective over time. Additionally, a sterile bandage, typically a piece of absorbent white cotton, will become ineffective over time. Organic material like cotton is biodegradable.
Packaging that is compromised will allow contaminants into the bandage. At that point, the sterile bandage becomes a dirty piece of cloth. It would be best if you disposed of outdated or package-damaged bandages. Otherwise, you’re not getting the effect you need from them.
Keeping a wound from getting dirt and contamination is the whole point of bandaging. Without the sterile component, a bandage is no more useful than any piece of cloth. If possible, some bandages can be re-sterilized with boiling water or UV light. Otherwise, it’s not worth it.
When you place a non-sterile bandage over a wound, you are trapping the problem inside. Pressing dirt, bacteria, and other infection-causing agents against open wounds will contribute to infections. Instead of creating a problem, use a clean, sterile bandage.
If you’re concerned about non-sterile bandages, you can clean out the wound. Using plain soap and water with bacitracin or Neosporin afterward will help kill off any harmful outside agents. After that, you can recover from the injury with a sterile bandage.
Keep a multipack of Band-AID Flexible Fabric Adhesive Bandages around at all times. These flexible, breathable bandages are great for minor abrasions and small cuts. Better still, they move with your body instead of popping off as those cheap knockoffs do. Have Amazon ship this four-pack to your door fast when you click here.
How Long Should You Leave a Band-Aid On
It is important to change your bandages. Although it’s not traditional ‘expiring’ Band-Aids need regular replacing. Moreover, shallow wounds typically self-seal after about twenty-four hours.
When you have a small cut or scratch, a Band-Aid is a terrific way to keep the ‘gunk’ out. Wash it first, making sure to remove any debris. It’s crucial to use soap or another cleansing agent.
Dry your clean skin with a microfiber cloth to avoid leaving paper or cloth inside the wound. Next, place a sterile Band-Aid over the damaged skin and ensure it is sealed to your clean skin. Bandages that seal on all four sides are better than those with open sides.
The maximum time for wearing most Band-Aids is forty-eight hours. When you remove the old bandage, re-wash the skin. Be careful not to abrade the wound, remove any remaining glue, and let the skin dry again.
You shouldn’t need a second bandage. However, if your wound is likely to encounter dirt and other contaminants, you may want to cover it up until it heals. Otherwise, frequent washing should be sufficient.
You can change your bandage as often as you want with this Band-Aid Brand Adhesive Bandages Multipack from Amazon. The convenient case comes with several different varieties and sizes of bandages. Keep all your bandages together in one easy-to-find container. Plus, you get packs of Neosporin-to-go for better wound care. To learn more, click here.
Should I Sleep with a Band-Aid on My Cut?
Dirt, germs, and other contaminants don’t sleep. More importantly, when you sleep, sweat, among other things, put on your clothing and bedding. Especially when you haven’t washed your bedding and pajamas, this will get into your cut.
Outside debris and microscopic contamination will cause a wound to become infected. It can swell and fester quickly. If you were injured late in the day, your wound is even more open and likely to get infected. Prevent this problem by putting a Band-Aid on it.
If you’re worried about losing the bandage while you sleep, choose a distinctive style bandage that sticks better. Alternately, you can wrap a sterile bandage strip around your band-aid or use medical tape to keep it in place. By double-wrapping, you can keep that band-aid in place.
Water blocking bandages are great for overnight. Whether it’s rain or sweat, they’ll seal out the extra moisture keeping your injury less damp. With less moisture, bacteria won’t grow as quickly, leaving you a cleaner cut that’s easier and less painful to wash in the morning.
For the best results, use bacitracin or Neosporin on the pad of the band aid. Either of these will help you prevent any infections as you sleep.
Band-Aid Brand Water Block Tough-Strips are good for twenty-four hours of continuous wear. Durable and sterile, it’s not hard to see why this is the number-one doctor-recommended bandage brand. Plus, these bandages are larger and waterproof, making them great for any outdoor adventure, sweaty summer, or moist climate. Click here for quick delivery.
Don’t Use Alcohol Wipes on Open Wounds
Using an alcohol wipe is one tradition you can ditch. Iodine is helpful, but both isopropyl and hydrogen peroxide is great at sterilizing but bad for your skin. Alcohol damages tissue as it sterilizes. Use it on bandages to clean them rather than on your body.
The bubbling action from hydrogen peroxide will also damage tissue. Although it’s great for killing biologically active agents because hydrogen peroxide is a bio-toxin, this is better for sterilizing used sewing needles or body jewelry than it is for hurt bodies. There’s a reason the bubbles cause (minor) pain. Your body is biologically active.
Cool water and mild soap are the best for cuts, scratches, and other wounds. Mild detergents like those in soap are non-damaging to your body. Plus, they’re not toxic to human cells like alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.
How Long Should You Leave a Band-Aid on a Deep Cut
So long as your Band-Aid is not expired, then you can leave it on a deep cut for the same amount of time as a shallow cut. Most of the time, those shallow wounds are sealed in twenty-four hours. Deeper cuts may take longer.
Regardless, it would help if you still changed your bandages every twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Intriguingly, bandages may not be necessary for as long as you think. According to one study, post-operative surgery patients (with deep cuts where they had cancerous skin lesions removed and then stitched) were no more likely to get infected than after twelve hours than forty-eight.
Long story short, Harvard says you need at least twelve hours of coverage. Beyond that, it might not matter. For safety’s sake, you can always keep things covered longer. It’s doubtful that a sterile bandage will cause a problem, even when it is not actively helping once the wound is sealed.
Standard medical advice says to keep a deep cut covered for two days. If your bandages get dirty or soak through, you may want to change them sooner and more often. Regardless, you do need to cover up those deep cuts for several hours to help prevent infections.
Band-Aid Large Adhesive Pads will cover those larger lacerations. With the four-sided seal, you can keep dirt out of deeper wounds. The Quilt-aid pad helps wick away fluids without sticking to your wound. Most importantly, the natural rubber latex and pads are sterile until you open the packages. Get yours from Amazon by clicking here.
More often than we like to admit, it’s the little, forgettable things that make the biggest difference. You won’t need a bunker full of food and water if a cut on your back turns into a septic mess. Knowing whether Band-Aids expire, how to use them, and when to change them is vital.
If you have a survival group or family, dividing up tasks is a terrific way to cover all your bases. However, there are some things everyone needs to know. Basic first aid is one of those things. Skip it at your peril because you never know when you’ll be out of range of your group medic.
Make sure you have Band-Aids with all your equipment. From your BOV to your EDC, a small, sterile, sticky strip of plastic and gauze is not something you should go without.