April 08, 2022 3 min read

Sterile dressings come in a range of sizes and formats because they have usually been designed to protect and promote healing after a specific type of wound has occurred. Sterile dressings are used in first aid to prevent further contamination and infection.

When choosing which dressings to include in your first aid kit, you’ll need to consider the types of wounds that have the potential to occur – whether that is for work, leisure or social activities.  A good quality first aid kit, will generally include a range of dressings.

Check your Sterile Dressings regularly

Because sterile dressings need to remain sterile to be effective, you should replace any damaged or expired dressings in your first aid kit. Most dressings have a shelf life of between about 2-3 years.

If you are in an environment where the contents of your first aid kits are being used or could potentially get damaged you’ll want to be checking them more frequently to ensure you are fully prepared for an emergency should it occur.

When opening sterile dressings it is important to have clean hands and/or wear gloves to avoid potential contaminants. It is also a good idea to open the packet carefully so it doesn’t accidentally fall onto a contaminated surface.

Types of sterile dressings

Sterile gauze squares in first aid settings are mainly used for cleaning skin and wounds. They are also designed to absorb blood and other body fluids, apply antiseptic to a wound, and act as padding when required making them a very versatile component of any good first aid kit.

NB: Please don’t be tempted to use cotton wool to clean wounds. The loose cotton fibres often stick to the wounds which can cause problems during the healing process.

Sterile non-adherent dressings are used to as wound dressings and have a surface that helps to prevent them from sticking to wounds. They are a double-sided dressing that is absorbent, has a cushioning effect and offer a protective barrier to prevent contaminants from accessing the wound site. They are applied directly to the skin and are held in place using bandages or tape. We like to use cohesive bandages. We stock sterile non-adherent dressings in 5x7.5cm and 7.5x7.5cm sizes which makes them suitable for smaller wounds, cuts and grazes.

Combined Dressings are a type of dressing that has been made using a combination of wool or cellulose which is covered by a light woven fabric. They come in a variety of sizes (we stock 10x9cm, 20x9cm and 20x20cm but are able to source other sizes too). Combined dressings are highly absorbent and cushioning allowing them to protect sensitive wounds. They are great for the care of larger wounds, grazes and cuts.They are applied directly to the skin and are held in place using bandages or tape. We like to use cohesive bandages.

Eye pads are a specific type of dressing designed for eye injuries. Our eye pads are individually packaged and include a single oblong eye pad. Their shape makes them ideal for covering and protecting eyes against added irritants after an injury. These eye pads are held in place by tape. 

Wound dressings are an all in one solution and great if space is a premium in your first aid kit. These sterile wound dressings come complete with conforming stretch bandage and an attached non-adherent pad so you don’tneed to go looking for a bandage to secure the pad when you are in a rush. We stock these with a 12x12cm pad and a larger 18x18cm pad

Barb Hutchinson
Barb Hutchinson

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