Adhesive bandage

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Typical adhesive bandage
Reverse of an adhesive bandage
Opened adhesive bandage, showing the non-adhesive absorbent pad and adhesive

An adhesive bandage, also called a sticking plaster (or simply plaster) in British English, is a small medical dressing used for injuries not serious enough to require a full-size bandage. They are also known by the genericized trademarks Band-Aid (in the U.S.) or Elastoplast (in the UK).


The adhesive bandage protects the cut from friction, bacteria, damage, or dirt. Thus, the healing process of the body is less disturbed. Sometimes they have antiseptic properties. An additional function is to hold the two cut ends of the skin together to make the healing process faster.


An adhesive bandage is usually covered by a woven fabric, plastic, or latex strip which has an adhesive. Adhesive bandages usually have an absorbent pad as the dressing, which is sometimes medicated with an antiseptic solution. Some bandages have a thin, porous-polymer coating over the pad to keep it from sticking to the wound. The bandage is applied such that the pad covers the wound, and the fabric or plastic sticks to the surrounding skin to hold the dressing in place and prevent dirt from entering the wound.


Special bandages are used by food prep workers. These are waterproof, have strong adhesive so they are less likely to fall off, and are usually bright blue in color so that it is obvious to the wearer if it has fallen off into some food. They are also detectable by special machines that are used in food manufacturing plants to ensure that food is free from foreign objects before it is shipped to the public.[1]

Transdermal patches are adhesive bandages with the function to distribute medication through the skin, rather than protecting a wound.[2]

Butterfly closures are generally thin adhesive strips which can be used to close small wounds. They are applied across the laceration in a manner which pulls the skin on either side of the wound together. They are not true sutures, but can often be used in addition to, or in place of real sutures for small wounds. Butterfly stitches can be advantageous in that they do not need a medical professional to be placed or removed, and are thus a common item in first aid kits.[3]

Notable brands[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Segal, Marian. "Patches, Pumps and Timed Release: New Ways to Deliver Drugs". Food and Drug Administration. Archived from the original on 2007-02-10. Retrieved 2007-02-24. 
  3. ^ [2]