I have a question about the vacuum sealed Israeli battle bandages. They have an “expiration date” on them: what does that mean, in terms of medical and common sense applications? My thinking is if I need it and have it, who cares how old it is… Thank you and thanks for all you do. RJH.
While many medical items have expiration dates that are critical (like insulin), some are there only because of legal liability reasons. If you pull out a bandage that doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to or has some problem that complicates it’s usage, the company does not want to be sued. You have to use your judgment on whether a device needs to be replaced or not. If you have nearly unlimited resources, by all means replace it, but if you are like most of us, you need to be more careful in your expenditures.
My personal method is to keep some bandages for practice. Applying life saving medical treatment is a perishable skill and needs to be kept fresh. When practicing, you need to work with the real thing whenever possible as well. I take the oldest bandages every year and use them to practice with. Tourniquets, Israeli Bandages, compression bandages, splints, et cetera all get used eventually. In addition, you should inspect all of your supplies at least once a year. If you see that the package has been damaged, relegate that bandage to the practice heap and replace it. As long as you stay on top of inspecting your supplies and don’t take chances with supplies that are actually perishable, you should be fine in keeping them beyond their printed expiration date.