Did you know that even though first aid kits don’t have an expiry date displayed on the exterior of the case/cabinet/bag, they are made up from a range of sterile products which do have manufacturers details, batch numbers and expiry dates printed on each item. The length of time to expiry will vary on different products from 3 to 5 years.
You may be surprised that sterile first aid dressings come with an expiry date, but this is something that should not be ignored. Beyond the expiry date provided on the packaging of the dressing it cannot be guaranteed that the dressing inside remains sterile and therefore it should not be used. If the packaging of the dressing is damaged then the dressing will no longer be sterile, even if it is still within its expiry date.
Using sterile dressings on wounds is vitally important to protect the wound from infection. Using a sterile dressing beyond its expiry date could put the casualty at risk of infection entering the wound which could in turn enter the blood stream of the casualty and cause them to become unwell. Additionally sterile dressings provide a clean environment over and around the wound can also promote healing faster and more effective healing.
You wouldn’t keep out of date food in your fridge, so why keep expired products in your first aid kit?
Remember to check all sterile first aid items including first aid dressings on a regular basis to ensure that the dressings are both undamaged and within date. Once the expiry date has passed products should be replaced. The expired stock can be used for training purposes but must be removed from the first aid kit.
When was the last time you checked the products in your first aid kit?
We recommend you check the expiry date on your first aid products, write the dates down and then stick a reminder in your diary.