Self adherent wrap. Also known as Coban wrap (made by 3M). Or simply, stretchy wrap for wounds – dressings / bandages (among other uses). I recommend that everyone have at least several rolls of these stretchy wraps as part of their overall First Aid preparedness supplies.
The medical stretch wrap is excellent at holding gauze dressings in place against a wound, especially around an appendage. It sticks to itself. It stretches and adheres to itself when you wrap a layer or two, and can be applied on yourself fairly easily, quickly, and efficiently.
Stretchy Wrap For Wounds, aka Coban Wrap
The self adhering stretch wrap material can be pulled really tight, or as loose as you want. For initial bleeding though, you do want it fairly tight.
Mostly known as Coban wrap by 3M, although other manufacturers make it too. It’s not very expensive, and again, a practical sensible item to have among your First Aid supplies. I’ll link to 3 width sizes of 3M Coban wrap for your reference (storefront on amzn)..
How Stretchy is Coban Wrap?
How much does it actually stretch? It’s pretty amazing actually. Here’s a photo showing 6″ of Coban stretch wrap, before it’s stretched, and then while it’s stretched. And I could have stretched it a bit more too.
Based on my own experience, Coban wrap stretches twice, or double its length – if you pull it that far. Also, its elasticity enables it to relax back to the ‘at rest’ length. That elastic tension combined with the ‘stickiness’ of the web, is what makes this stretchy wrap what it is.
Use Stretch Wrap to Help Stop the Bleeding
First, know this: The best thing you can do to help stop the bleeding during an emergency is to “plug it” and apply pressure. What do I mean by that?
Grab some gauze (the plug) or whatever appropriate clean material you may have to ‘plug’ the wound. Place it over the wound.
Next, wrap it well and snug with some wrapping material holding the gauze ‘plug’ in place (e.g. Coban stretch wrap). Wrap it tight enough to apply adequate pressure to help stop the bleeding. If necessary, push down on the wound to apply more pressure against the bleeding. Proceed to appropriate medical care.
For traumatic injury, I highly recommend the Israeli Bandage. I wrote about it here on the blog, and advise that you look into it:
[ Read: How To Use The Israeli Bandage ]
Stretch Bandage & Gauze to Stop the Bleeding
With that said, for minor to moderate bleeding wounds, ordinary gauze and wrap will get the job done.
How I Used the Stretch Wrap to Bandage a Wound
(This little ‘accident’ inspired my original post)
Some time ago I had accidentally punctured my palm with a screwdriver. Ouch. My fault. Here’s a photo from my original posting, showing how I used the stretch wrap and gauze:
My left hand was holding an assembly while my right hand held a screwdriver. A machine screw was stubbornly stuck as I applied excessive counterclockwise downward force against the head. About 2 seconds before it happened, I said to myself, if that screwdriver slips, I’m going to hurt myself. Wouldn’t you know it, it slipped and punctured my palm to an extent.
Near immediate bloodletting.. No First Aid Kit in the shop at that time (my bad). Made it to the house leaving a trail of blood. Here’s where good First Aid Kit organization is important:
We keep all essential First Aid supplies on one specific shelf in a bathroom cabinet. This eliminates scrambling for what you might need during an emergency!
Mrs. J helped. We grabbed a bottle of hydrogen peroxide (3%), a 4×4 gauze, and a roll of this stretch wrap (love that stuff!).
Dumped some hydrogen peroxide on the bleeding wound over the sink. OUCH! It bubbled and fizzled. Then did it some more to clean it out.
I held the folded 4×4 gauze onto the wound. Mrs. J got the stretch bandage started and I finished by wrapping it tight.
The great thing about this type of stretchy wrap for wounds / bandage dressings / is the self-adhering and stretch properties. It’s quick, and it holds itself in place quite readily. You can pull it pretty darn tight to apply pressure (which I did). Later, I relaxed it.