What is a Bandage Wrap?

Lori Kilchermann

Bandage wrap is the roll of material used to cover a wound. The wrap can come in different types of materials, from elastic to gauze-type wraps. The roll of bandage wrap allows a nurse or doctor to cover a wound neatly and completely, and serves as an easily removed bandage. Most first-aid kits contain a roll of bandage wrap.

Bandaging can help provide support for an injured joint.
Bandaging can help provide support for an injured joint.

Often a wound is dressed with a sterile square gauze pad that is then covered up with a bandage wrap. The wrap keeps the sterile pad located on the wound and ensures that it will not move around. Often stretchy elastic bandages are used as a final covering due in part to the ease in which they are applied. The elastic also makes it easy to change bandages when the patient arrives back home and has to do it his or herself.

First aid kits commonly contain bandage wrap.
First aid kits commonly contain bandage wrap.

Bandage wrap can also come in many forms, from sterile wrapping to one-time disposable wrapping. The wraps can be held in place with tape or metal clips. Many of the bandage wraps are reusable and can be sterilized and kept until needed again in a drawer or in a medicine chest. Often, the wrap may not cover a bandage, it may be the bandage.

Immobilizing a sprained wrist in a wrap may help prevent re-injury.
Immobilizing a sprained wrist in a wrap may help prevent re-injury.

In cases of sprained ankles or knees, a bandage wrap may be the only treatment. Wrapping the injured area tightly and keeping it immobilized may be the preferred treatment method. The patient can remove the wrap for bathing or sleeping and re-wrap the injured limb or joint when finished. Always making sure that the wrap is not so tight as to cut off blood circulation.

A roll of bandage wrap allows a nurse or doctor to cover a wound neatly and completely.
A roll of bandage wrap allows a nurse or doctor to cover a wound neatly and completely.

With wounds such as head wounds, a bandage wrap of non-sticky gauze may be used to prevent the hair from becoming stuck to the bandage. The wrap conforms perfectly to the roundness of the patient's head and creates a bandage that will not fall off or become loose. The wrap also allows a doctor to remove the bandage to examine and monitor the wound without disturbing it too much. The bandage roll is often the most comfortable for the patient as well.

In the case of a sprained ankle, a bandage wrap may be the only treatment needed.
In the case of a sprained ankle, a bandage wrap may be the only treatment needed.

A bandage wrap can often be sent home with a patient to dress a wound later. Due to its ease of application, the patient can dress a wound after swelling has gone down or after application of a cream or antibacterial ointment. In the case of a burn victim, the wrap can be applied loose to avoid injuring fresh skin grafts or causing more pain to the wound.

A bandage wrap is sometimes used to secure a sterile dressing over an open wound.
A bandage wrap is sometimes used to secure a sterile dressing over an open wound.

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Discussion Comments

ysmina

@fify-- There is a way to check if a bandage has been wrapped too tightly. Your two fingers-- index and middle finger-- should be able to go into the wrap easily. If it doesn't, the wrap is too tight.

When you are bandaging your palm, towards the end of the wrap, pull the wrap between your thumb and index finger towards your wrist. Use scissors to cut a slit into the wrap vertically from the end. You will have two pieces of bandage. Tie those two pieces together over your wrist to keep the bandage together.

turquoise

@fify-- I don't blame you! It can be confusing! I'm not a medical professional but my mom is a nurse so I've been able to learn about different bandages from her.

Gauze pads and wraps are used when there is an open wound like a cut, a scrape or for some burns. This is to keep the wound clean so that it doesn't become infected. So if you have an open wound, you can apply a topical anti-bacterial or antibiotic ointment on it and then cover it with a sterile gauze pad. Make sure to wash your hands first and try not to touch the side of the pad that will touch the wound. To keep the pad in place, use a gauze bandage wrap to wrap it and finally use medical tape to hold it in place.

If you don't have an open wound, just a sprain or something similar, you need an elastic wrap bandage with bandage clips. These are used for compression and also to keep the joint in place so it doesn't move. I use these to keep my ankle in place when I sprain my ankle. When wrapping it, alternate it in different directions and then use the bandage clips to hold it in place.

If you apply something like a topical pain reliever on a sprain, you may want to use a gauze bandage wrap underneath to keep the elastic bandage wrap clean. The gauze ones are one-time use only but the elastic ones you can use over and over again. So you will want to keep them clean.

Hope this helps!

fify

I don't really know the proper use of bandage wraps. I have both elastic bandage and gauze bandage in my first aid kit. I've been wanting to use them a couple of times lately, but didn't know which one works best for what. This article has been helpful, but I'm still a little confused.

For example, which should I use for when I have a cut or scrape on my leg? Should I use both? I know that the elastic bandage wrap is good for sprains. So do I just wrap that around and clip it on? How do I know if the bandage has been wrapped too tightly or not?

And does anyone know how to wrap a gauze bandage on the hand? Like when you have a cut in your palm? I can never get the bandage to stay on, it always falls off!

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