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What Is Bandage Tape?

Bandage tape is used to secure a bandage that's been used to dress or cover a wound.
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  • Written By: Phil Shepley
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 20 March 2014
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Bandage tape, also referred to as surgical or medical tape, is a type of first aid supply that is used for the purpose of securing a bandage or dressing over a wound. There are many varieties of bandage tape, but some common characteristics are that it is usually elastic, has a built-in adhesive, and is made of a breathable material. Once a dressing is placed over the wound, the medical tape must be wrapped over the wound in a way that will prevent as much movement as possible of either the dressing or of the tape itself.

A wound must treated as soon as possible, in order to prevent infection, loss of blood, or other medical issues. In some cases, it is possible to dress a wound at home, while some wounds are so severe that a healthcare professional at a doctor's office or hospital emergency room should dress the wound. Once the wound has been properly cleaned and dressed, for instance with gauze or a band-aid, it is time to apply the bandage tape. This is done simply by wrapping the tape around the dressing repeatedly until the dressing is secure. A wound on the stomach, for example, will require a greater length of surgical tape than a wound on the forearm, since it must be wrapped around the entire patient's waist several times.

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Once wrapped, the tape can be cut with scissors and sometimes can be easily torn off, depending on the brand and type, or can even come in pre-cut lengths. The built-in adhesive in bandage tape allows it to easily stick to itself. This adhesive is made from a hypoallergenic material that will not leave a glue-like residue on the skin, and will not cause any unnecessary pain when removed.

Medical tape is usually white, but can also come in practically any other color. The size can vary from thin to wide, which allows the tape to be used for many types of injuries. Bandage tape is obviously a necessity in emergency rooms, hospitals, and emergency medical kits. A person who gives blood will usually have the place on his or her arm where the needle penetrated wrapped with bandage tape.

Bandage tape is also used directly on sports equipment, such as tennis rackets, baseball bats, and more. When used for equipment, the tape can be durable while offering a better grip, and can also be quite impervious to the motion and sweat that are associated with sports. Athletic bandage tape also exists for use by athletes on body parts such as ankles and elbows to aid in the playing of sports by securing joints that may be causing trouble, or simply offering greater support. Varieties of bandage tape even exist for pets, and are designed not to stick to pet hair or skin.

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