Dated dressings - would you use if needed?

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Jul 8, 2008
Yes I would. Had a discussion with a first air trainer that was ex paramedic, over the years he has used just about anything you could think of to stop bleeding. I have used self amalgamating tape on myself and others. Obviously at work stick to in date stuff.


Full Member
Jan 25, 2014
Between a rock & hard place
Provided it is a plain cotton dressing has been kept dry throughout its storage life it should be fine.
Trauma dressings impregnated with a silica or clay based hemostasis accelerator the literature gets a little vaguer. Again these should work ok as basic bandages however atmospheric water vapour will permeate any packaging given enough time thus reducing the clotting power. Short of somebody doing a side by side "soak test" of new vs well expired nobody knows if it's something to worry about.


Full Member
Feb 17, 2018
Anything that is intact in the wrapping is fine matey. If the bleed is bad enough to require an emergency care bandage/first field dressing then the sterility of the skin is already majorly compromised and infection is already in there, so slapping on an ECB/FFD (out of date or not) is going to trap environmental detritus inside the wound anyway. The use of the ECB/FFD is to stop Massive Hemmorage (arterial bleed, flayed muscle, degloving and such). Infection of the wound is waaay down the list on priorities in this context. When you get to hospital the doc will IV you with a shed load of antibiotics to fight the later infection that will come from such a big wound, so don't worry.

As an aside, if the knuckle wound required 2 ECBs, I would of removed the first one and packed the wound with gauze before reapplying a fresh ECB if required, rather than slapping on another ECB, which surely was just damn awkward and worrying for the patient? But I wasn't there, so its just my thoughts so I guess irrelevant.....

Also, I've seen some pretty bad muscular flayed wounds wrapped in the casualties sweaty, muddy T-shirt prior to transport to hospital. He was OK, worked for him!

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Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
In my case it was an A&E doctor I believe who slapped the second one on. Something about not wanting to disturb it up there and infection reasons. Later at MRT base it got stripped off and he had a better look. Immediately put another two on. Looked like boxing glove it was so bulky.

The poor old dear on the bus home raided her FAK for something when the claret appeared again on the outside. It was empty except for a paracetamol and a few plasters. She was a little distraught over it. People often just want to help.

Btw the guy in our group who administered the first dressing was 15 MRT volunteer. It was some of his colleagues still involved who reached us first. His FAK could have served a lot of people. Two 5l ice cream tubs! Half of one was high strength pain killers obtained through MRT contacts. Definitely not allowed without prescription. Put it this way they worked better than the kopake a&e gave me many hours later.

Imho blood loss is worse than immediate infection risk in the UK. In other locations where you're further from medical treatment I think I'd pay more attention to dates on FAK items. It's about risk and that depends on so many factors I think.


Apr 27, 2005
My main First aid trainer for years basically echos what has already been said. If someone is bleeding to death, you stop the blood loss with the nearest dirty rag. Infection is a days away problem.
I honestly think the dates on medical supplies are a con. I change my plasters at least once a year because I know any longer and they will not be sticky. The wound bandages are for bleeds so if you are worried about infections you do not need one.
The date on drugs is for real because they breakdown over time so you should keep on top of them.
Keep in mind that they put best before dates on honey and this is the oldest edible food at 3,000 years.

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