It may seem odd 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. It should also be noted though that 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 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 which could 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.
It is essential 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. Any dressings that are not should be immediately replaced.