How To Use A Butterfly Bandage for First Aid

Last Updated: September 18, 2021
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Do you have a butterfly bandage in your first aid kit?

A first-aid kit should include a variety of bandages to treat a wide range of cuts.

A butterfly bandage is one type of bandage that you should have in your first-aid kit. This can be utilized to treat a moderate injury.

Here are some guidelines on when and how to use a butterfly bandage.

Butterfly Bandage

When to Use a Butterfly Bandage

A butterfly bandage may be used to close a minor cut that is deep but not wide.

It should be utilized on a straight, not jagged wound.

A gapping wound of that sort might remain open. To promote healing and minimize scarring, a butterfly bandage can be used to seal the injury.

A butterfly bandage is most effective on a wound that measures less than two inches in length.

More than one bandage can be used to close a cut that is longer than two inches.

You might be asking why you should get a butterfly bandage now…

How to Use a Butterfly Bandage

It is not necessary to go to the emergency room for stitches if your wound is minor.

Many of these injuries can be readily treated at home with a butterfly bandage, as many people are surprised when the doctor in an ER uses a butterfly bandage rather than stitching them up.

It’s a good idea to get familiar with butterfly bandages since when you go camping in the woods with your family, there aren’t any ERs nearby!

How To Close A Gaping Wound

You can save time (and money!) by knowing how and when to use a butterfly bandage if you know how and when to apply one.

There are four main ways to close a gaping wound.

  1. Skin glue:  This first-aid procedure can only be used on minor cuts that aren’t too wide. The glue keeps the surface skin together, allowing healing to take place beneath it.
  2. Stitches:  Sutures, also known as stitches, are a type of surgical closure that is popular among veterinarians and surgeons alike. A sterile needle is used to sew the skin together with suture material (usually silk or nylon), which is often referred to as braiding.
  3. Staples: Staples are utilized for deep wounds with sharp edges. They’re frequently used in regions where skin isn’t as thick, such as scalp lacerations. Traditional stitches are faster and easier to apply than staples.
  4. Adhesive Bandages (including butterfly bandages and SteriStrips): Adhesive bandages, instead of stitching the skin together, keep both sides of the wound in place.

When You Should Not Use Adhesive Bandages

They should NOT be used when:

  • The wound is jagged.
  • The skin of the wound is being stretched (as in a knuckle or elbow injury, which would be pulled whenever you moved your fingers or arm).
  • The wound is quite significant, extending beneath the skin into fat or muscle tissue.
  • Even after pressure has been applied, the wound continues to leak.
  • When you are worried about scarring.
  • When the wound is from an animal bite.
  • If you’re not sure whether the wound is clean or if anything has been caught in it.

How to Apply a Butterfly Bandage

Step 1: Stop the blood flow

Butterfly Bandage

Stop the blood flow by applying pressure, preferably with a clean compression pad/gauze, when treating any wound.

Step 2: Clean and disinfect the wound

Butterfly Bandage

Use clean water to flush any debris out of the wound.

Step 3: Apply the bandage accros the width of the cut

Butterfly Bandage

Start on one side and wrap the bandage around the wound.

After that, press the skin together to close up the cut, then apply the other side of the butterfly bandage to the skin on the opposite side.

Step 4: Apply additional bandages

The first butterfly bandage should be centered over the wound. Some people like to apply extra bandages even if the injury is minor.

They approach this one from angles, making an X over the initial bandage. This technique allows for greater skin capture, which helps hold the wound in place better.

Step 5: Apply antibiotic

You want to apply topical antibiotic ointment on areas of the wound that have not yet healed and different parts of your body.

You’ll need to reapply the antibiotic ointment once or twice a day.

Step 6: Cover the wound with gauze and adhesive (optional) 

To keep the bandage in place and the wound clean, cover it with gauze and tape.

What to Do after You Apply a Butterfly Bandage

If you use a butterfly bandage to wrap a cut, maintain the bandage on until it peels off on its own.

It might take 10 to 14 days for the wound to heal.

When to See a Doctor

If you have any of the above symptoms, see a doctor.

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