Adhesive bandages are a standard first aid staple and among the most-used components of any first-aid kit. Whether you’re looking to stock up on bandages for yourself or a loved one, here is what you need to know about adhesive bandages.

What are Adhesive Bandages?

Adhesive bandages stick to the wound around the skin. There are two main categories of adhesive bandages: small and elastic.

Small Adhesive Bandages

These typically feature a small area of adhesive wound dressing placed over the wound and a larger area that will stick to the surrounding skin. Small adhesive bandages come in a variety of sizes, including:
  • 0.87in x 0.87 in
  • 1 in x 1 in
  • 1.5 in x 3 in
  • 3 in x 3 in
  • When choosing a bandage, you always want the dressing area to be slightly larger than the size of the wound. If the wound is too large for a small adhesive bandage, consider an adhesive dressing instead. You should also consider calling your healthcare provider if you are unsure what bandage to use or when caring for more extensive wounds.

    Cloth vs. Plastic Bandages: Cloth bandages are typically more flexible and more comfortable than plastic bandages. Cloth bandages are great for wounds located on mobile areas of the body such as fingers, knees, elbows, and more. They are available in several shapes, including round spot bandages, rectangular bandages, and knuckle bandages. Cloth bandages may be plain, colored, or decorated.

    Plastic bandages come in the same variety of sizes as cloth bandages. Because plastic is easier to decorate, plastic bandages are available in a larger variety of fun colors and designs.

    Decorated Bandages: These bandages for scrapes, cuts, and other minor injuries are especially fun for children. They can be either cloth or plastic, depending on the manufacturer. The bandages come with a fun design that acts as a mood-lifter for the injured individual. There are many decorated adhesive bandage designs, including:

  • Looney Toons themed bandages for burns, cuts, and scrapes
  • Avengers-themed adhesive bandages
  • DC Comics-themed bandages
  • Bandages with fun designs such as glitter, fun patterns, and colors

  • Tru-Color Bandages: These bandages for scrapes, cuts, and other minor injuries are especially fun for children.

    Waterproof Adhesive Bandages: These are made from plastic and great for wounds that run a high risk of exposure to water, such as wounds on the hands or forearms.

    Elastic Adhesive Bandages: Adhesive bandage rolls are different in structure and function from the smaller adhesive bandages but are also very useful for home care. They tend to come in a roll and can be pulled apart and stuck back together as the bandage is wrapped. They also come in a variety of widths and roll lengths.

    Elastic adhesive bandages can come in a variety of colors and designs. Most of the time, these are made from cloth and elastic to promote adhesion.

    When to Use Adhesive Bandages

    Small adhesive bandages are typically used for minor cuts, scrapes, and burns that usually do not require further medical attention. The bandage is meant to protect the wound from dirt and bacteria and promote wound healing by creating a slightly moist environment.

    Elastic adhesive bandages will also provide compression or support for injured joints, including ankle and wrist joints.
    Adhesive bandages can be a vital asset in wound care. However, if an injury is not healing properly, or if you suspect an infection, it is always best to see the advice of a medical professional. Injuries around sensitive areas such as the eyes also warrant medical consultation.