Surgical tape is a type of adhesive tape that is designed to be used to hold bandages in place and close wounds. This tape comes in a variety of widths, lengths, and styles that are designed to meet an assortment of bandaging needs. Most drug stores and large markets carry the tape, and it is also available through companies that specialize in medical supplies; surgical tape is a first aid kit must-have, since it is an extremely versatile and useful product.
Many companies make surgical tape that has been impregnated with zinc oxide or another substance that is designed to reduce the risk of infection. It is also intended to breathe, allowing air to circulate around the wound. Studies have shown that healing times tend to be greatly improved when wounds are kept ventilated in addition to being cleaned, so the tape promotes a healthy flow of air across the wound, rather than suffocating the site.
A variety of materials can be used to make surgical tape, including various plastics, nylon, silk, cloth, paper, and foam. In all cases, the tape and the mild adhesive are supposed to be hypo-allergenic, ensuring that it can be used on anyone. In addition to being available in a variety of widths, it is also very easy to cut, allowing people to create customized pieces for specific needs.
The classic use of surgical tape is in attaching bandages, ensuring that they cover the wound and stay put. The tape is great for this task because it can be customized to deal with wounds of a wide variety of sizes, from small cuts to much larger wounds. Deep wounds require the attention of a medical professional to ensure that they are cleaned properly, but chances are high that once the healthcare provider has cleaned the wound, he or she will dress it with a large bandage and tape. Because surgical tape is easy to cut and shape, it can also be used to dress wounds in awkward locations, like fingers.
Medical professionals can also use tape to hold a gaping wound closed. In some cases, a wound will be closed with surgical tape while it awaits stitching, especially in the case of a patient with numerous injuries, and in other instances, a medical professional may decide that stitches are not necessary, as long as the wound is kept closed with tape strips.
First aid kids should be stocked with surgical tape and gauze or bandages, and it is a good idea to regularly check on supplies to ensure that they will be available when needed.