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Island Bandages - A Part Of Today's Wound Dressing

Matthew Rylett posted this on Jun 10, 2020

What are ‘Island bandages’?

You must have been curious when you heard the very name ‘island’ bandages. While shuffling through dressing options in the wake of wound treatment, you'll often come across island dressing. These bandages have a non-woven adhesive border on the back. The part in the middle, that is, the island part is an absorbent dressing pad that absorbs exudates as well as acts as a bacterial barrier.

This padding absorbs light levels of bleeding too. In fact, blood, plasma, and other fluids are absorbed. This provides a sterile environment to the wound bed and protects it from further trauma.

The term island dressing, in medical literature, acts as a synonym for island bandages. Both refer to the same material, use, and functionalities!

Why is dressing important?

The modern wound care literature emphasizes that if a wound bed becomes too dry or too moist, its healing levels get affected. This notion sharply contrasts the traditional idea that wounds more exposed to air heals faster. The modern thinking is based upon the fact that primarily all wounds need protection from germs and bacteria.

A moist environment fuels the chances of infection too. Therefore, modern dressings (like the island bandages in this case) are permeable and absorbent. After a certain extent of time, they need to be changed. So, when does a wound signal that your bandage or dressing needs to be changed?

1. Some amount of redness near the wound

2. The wound area begins to feel heated slightly

3. You might experience slight pain too

The difference between ‘dressing’ and ‘bandages’

Let us now discuss the concepts of ‘dressing’ and ‘bandages’. So, what is the difference between the two? Are they nearly the same thing? Well, no! The basic difference between a dressing and a bandage is that the former remains in direct contact with the wound whereas the latter is, in most cases, is used to hold the dressing in place.

As dressings are the direct contact materials, they directly take part in the wound healing process. Bandages, on the other end, aid in the healing procedure but usually does not have a direct role to play! In fact, a bandage is a part of a dressing.

Nevertheless, in the case of island bandages, they are quite often referred to as 'island dressing' too!

Bandages, in a gist, can serve the following purposes…

1. Can be used to support a dressing

2. Can be used with a splint and/or individually to provide support to a body part

3. They can restrict a heavily bleeding area

A word about ‘band-aids’…

Not only the terms 'bandage' and 'dressing' but also 'bandage' and 'band-aids' are used interchangeably. However, both cases should not be confusing! Just like there exists a major difference between bandage and dressing, there is a clear distinction between bandages and 'band-aids' too.

In fact, band-aids are a subset of bandages. Adhesive bandages are called band-aids. They are available in both plastic as well as fabric adhesive forms.

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