How to use Medical Tape?

The question might seem silly, the obvious answer to many could be: un-roll it, cut and apply, done! But you would be amazed on the amount of information out there on different techniques and types of this special tape. Turns out, it is an entire science with lots of specifications on how to use medical tape. 

A few tips and techniques to follow among the variety of information are available below. Note that all different types of medical tapes are available with a budget friendly price at Discount Medical Supplies.
Before any application and to maximize adhesion of the tape it is very important to have a clean skin surface as most of these products will stick best and stay in place for longer periods of time. Avoid or minimize the use of substances that contain adhesive tape removers or moisturizers such as emollients or oils. If the skin is naturally oily, try cleaning it with a small amount of a mild soap and water and pat dry. In some cases alcohol wipes could be useful but they tend to overly dry the skin.
If a prep solution is prescribed to be used before applying the tape, it is best to let it dry completely before making the application. Also, the adhesive features of any tape will maintain their high quality as long as they’re not touched more than they should before application. They will collect particles of whatever surface they touch before touching the skin.

Most tapes are pressure sensitive, the skin has “hills and valleys” and by just laying the tape on the skin it will only contact the hills. By applying the tape without tension onto the skin and then do a pressure stroke through the tape, you will allow the it to come in contact with more of the skin surface. This will avoid rolling of the tape or losing it to friction and increase initial adhesion. It is also important not to encircle a limb completely with tape since this could cause infiltration and swelling that may compromise circulation.
When using tape to hold a tube or sustain a dressing it is important to leave a large enough border so that moisture, air or even fluids could slip between the two and gradually loosen it. “Lift” or “spiral” techniques work best in tubing applications. By covering an adequate surface area of around ½ to 1 inch border when taping a dressing you will guarantee the tape to hold during the stresses of patient movements or friction.
Also to avoid any moisture slipping through the tape, try to get full contact between the tape and tubing or skin. By minimizing gaps, wrinkles and tunnels the tape adhesion will not be compromised. When taping on hairy areas of the skin, extra firm strokes to press the tape on the skin is recommended and in some cases, depending on the conditions, clipping or shaving might be indicated.
When removing the tape it is important to reduce skin injuries such as skin stripping that mainly comes from this phase of tape application. When the tape is removed on an angle, it develops tension on the epidermis with negative results on the patient’s skin. Apart of picking the tape with your nail, try pressing a small piece of tape at the corner and lift it up slightly. Stabilize the skin with one finger, remove the tape slowly back over itself following the direction of hair growth and as you remove more tape, continue pressing the exposed tape with your finger. Supporting the skin close to the tape is especially important for thin skin. When dealing with a strong adhesive tape or an application on top of a hairy area, consider using a moisturizer or adhesive remover. Create a small triangle on the upper edge of the tape, following the direction of the hair, glide the moisturizer or remover onto the edge as you start to remove the tape slowly and keep applying the moisturizer to release the hair while pulling the tape. Remember to clear the moisturizer if you are planning on re-taping the area.

Related Read: A beginners guide to Kinesio Tape