A crepe bandage is a lightweight bandage that is generally applied to provide warmth, insulation and support in a variety of medical health situations. It can be used to treat sprains and strains, to help correct fractures and other bone problems in orthopedics, to serve as a compression bandage to support already bandaged varicose veins, and to support surgical gauze bandage dressings. This type of bandage is never directly applied to wounds. The characteristic feature of this bandage is its elastic, stretchable property, which allows it to be wrapped without trouble and with comfort over different body parts.
It is very easy and quick to apply a crepe elastic bandage. It is important, however, to make sure that it is not applied too tight, otherwise the bandage may inadvertently act as a tourniquet, cut off blood circulation, and even create a potentially life-threatening situation. The layers should allow for easy movement of limbs and should be able to expand if there is any swelling.
The material used to make a crepe bandage is usually cotton, cotton mixed with wool, or cotton mixed with rayon. The fabric is made of a plain weave in which two folded, crepe twisted cotton threads form the warp, and a mix of cotton and wool threads or cotton and rayon threads form the weft. The warp threads are arranged in a repeat pattern of two threads in a S twist and two threads in a Z twist. These bandages are also available in knitted form. With frequent use, they lose their elasticity and become stretched out; the elasticity can be regained to some extent by washing the bandage in hot soapy water.
Whether in weave or knitted form, the crepe cotton bandage comes in a non-jointed, continuous length. The length, width and weight is variable, depending on the requirement and purpose. It may have fast edges or may need to be fastened with clips.
Crepe bandages come in bleached and unbleached forms. It is also possible to get them in different colors for better aesthetic appearance, the main colors being white, off-white and a light tan. They can be purchased in non-sterile and sterile packages; in individual, cellophane wrapped packing; and in blister packages.