Hello, my name is Maria and I am a specialist nurse at St John's Institute of Dermatology. In this short video I will be explaining why we use paste bandages and I will show you how to apply them safely. Please note that this is a general guide and should not replace the advice given to you by your doctor or nurse.
Paste bandages are cotton bandages that are impregnated with medicated pastes which provide relief from itchy skin conditions such as eczema.
Your doctor or nurse may suggest using paste bandages in addition to other prescribed skin creams such as moisturisers or steroids, as placing a bandage over these treatments can make them work better.
Paste bandages are non-elastic. The methods of applying the bandages, which I'm about to demonstrate, allow the bandages to expand if there is any limb swelling. Paste bandages can easily stain fabric materials so it is recommended to use a surface that is easy to clean. You would need to have all the following equipment ready before starting. Paste bandages, which are single-use only. Scissors, ideally scissors that have a blunt end. Outer tubular bandage that is measured to cover each limb, this keeps the paste bandage in place and prevents staining to clothing. Emollient, which is pre-poured out, and topical steroids if you have been instructed to use them.
Before starting, wash your hands. Clean the area to be bandaged by washing with a soap substitute or as per the advice of your doctor or nurse. Pat the area dry. If you have been directed to use topical steroids under the bandages, apply this to the area affected.
There are two common methods used to apply paste bandages. This method will be used to cover one of the upper limbs starting from the wrists to the shoulder. Start by wrapping the bandage around the front of the wrist and right around the back of the wrist, carefully smoothing the bandage down as you go. The bandage should then be brought back up to the front of the wrist, and once you reach half the width of the first wrap fold the bandage to create a pleat and continue in the opposite direction, wrapping under the arm, across the top and folding to create the pleat. Each pleat will change the direction that the bandage is being applied in. It is important that the folds are created at different places to prevent a single pressure point. Secure the paste bandage in place with a dry tubular bandage. It is important that this fits snug to keep the under layer in place, but is not too tight.
You may find this method more suitable if the bandages are applied to smaller areas, such as the wrists, ankles or individual fingers and toes. You should start at the base of the toes. Take the bandage around the foot for one and a half turns, then cut the bandage. Continue doing this until you reach the knee joint, ensuring the overlap is half the width of the previous wrap.
If you find the paste bandages drying out and becoming less comfortable you can apply a thin layer of an emollient on the outside of the paste bandage. To do this, gently roll the tubular bandage away, apply a thin layer of a spreadable emollient such as white soft paraffin in liquid paraffin (sometimes known as 50/50), in gentle downward strokes, then reapply the outer tubular bandage.
Paste bandages can stay on for 24 to 48 hours and are not to be reused. To remove the bandage, first roll down the outer tubular layer, unravel the paste bandages starting from the top of the limb i.e. the shoulder if applied on the arms, or the knee if applied to the leg. You will notice the pleats begin unfolding. If you find that the bandages have stuck on the skin this should not be forcefully removed. We advise soaking the bandages to loosen them, which makes them easier to remove.
Thank you for watching. We hope you found this video useful. If you'd like further information please click on the link below for our downloadable information leaflet.