How Long Should I Keep a Plaster on a Cut?

How Long Should I Keep a Plaster on a Cut?

How Long Should I Keep a Plaster on a Cut?

Using a plaster is a convenient and efficient way to manage a minor wound and stop it from preventing everyday activities. Covering a cut with a small, adhesive dressing means you can get on with life without worrying about potential infection or discomfort. 

This is especially true of our Steroplast fabric plasters, which were voted Which? #1 best plaster in the UK against other mainstream brands. Our plasters stay in place no matter what.

How long should you leave a plaster on?

On a normal wound, a plaster can be left on for up to two days. But what do we mean by ‘normal’?

  • The wound is not infected.
  • The wound is not very extensive or very deep.
  • The wound does not have anything embedded in it.
  • The wound is not bleeding heavily or producing lots of exudate.

How Often to Change a Plaster

If you’re asking, ‘how often should I change a plaster?’ it really depends on what’s happening underneath. Follow the guide in the table below for how long to leave a plaster on a wound, but also look for these signs that it might need to be changed earlier.

  • The plaster is soiled.
  • Exudate or blood is coming through the edges of the plaster.
  • There is an unpleasant smell coming from the plaster.
  • The area around or under the plaster feels hot, hard, or painful when pressure is applied.

These are signs that the wound could be infected or at risk of infection. If you notice these signs, remove the plaster as soon as you can and inspect the wound for signs of infection. If you are worried, you could ask your GP to examine it. Clean the wound thoroughly and allow it to air dry before applying a new plaster.

Signs of Infection:

Unpleasant smell

Unpleasant smell

Hot and hard at the wound site

Hot and hard at the wound site

Pus coming from the wound

Pus coming from the wound

Painful

Painful

Not healing or getting worse

Not healing or getting worse

It’s also a good idea to check for signs of an allergic reaction to the plaster, especially in the case of young children.

Different Types of Plasters and Their Duration of Use

Different types of wounds and plasters may require more or less frequent changes. Here’s an easy guide to follow with some of the different types of plasters. 

Type of PlasterConsiderationsDuration of Use
Standard fabric plasterThe fabric is more likely to become soiled as it is not waterproof.1–2 days
Washproof plasterWaterproof plaster material is less breathable than other varieties.1–2 days
Hydrocolloid plasterUsed on light to moderate exudate wounds, so drainage should be monitored, and plasters changed more frequently if they are soaked.Up to a week (provided it does not become soaked)
Plaster stripsOften used on closed surgical wounds.Follow your doctor’s advice. Plaster strips can sometimes remain in place until the wound is fully healed.
Blue plastersUsed in catering environments but otherwise the same as nude washproof plasters. Be sure to change them if they seem to be coming loose.1–2 days

In the workplace, plasters must be used to cover wounds, not only to protect the wearer but to prevent cross-contamination of body fluids. This is particularly relevant for food handling businesses where blue plasters must be worn. The duration of use for plasters in this table can be followed in the workplace as well as at home. Blue plasters should be changed every one to two days unless soiled or coming loose.

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How Long to Keep Blister Plasters On

If you want to know how long to leave blister plasters on, it’s important to understand how hydrocolloids work.

Hydrocolloid plasters and dressings can be worn for up to a week, and it is, in fact, better to change them less frequently. De-roofed blisters and healing burns benefit from the undisturbed environment under a hydrocolloid layer where new skin cells can grow. Changing the plaster can risk removing new cell growth in progress. 

However, hydrocolloids are used on wounds with light to moderate exudate (such as blisters and weeping wounds rather than standard cuts and grazes), so it’s important to make sure the plaster or dressing isn’t being soaked as this can elongate the healing process and even heighten infection risk.

Healing Times of Different Types of Wounds

Blisters

Generally, blisters heal in three to seven days. Blisters should not be de-roofed unless done by a professional because there’s a heightened risk of infection from the open wound. Instead of popping a blister, put a hydrocolloid blister plaster over it to allow for safe, painless drainage and healing.

Blister plasters also work on spots to speed up the spot life cycle.

Burns

Burns can vary in severity, size, and placement, all of which affect the time it takes for the wound to heal. Because burns are open wounds similar to sores, they can be quite painful and take longer to heal since, rather than simply the case of an incision closing, new skin needs to grow over a larger surface area.

The best plaster to use on a burn is a hydrocolloid or hydrogel. More extensive burns may need special dressings such as large, occlusive Burnshield dressings impregnated with hydrogel and cooling agents that are more effective than cold water.

Check our guide on how to dress a burn to learn more about burncare.

Lacerations

Cuts are the most common wounds that require the use of plasters. Minor cuts may close up immediately on their own, but it’s a good idea to clean them and cover them with plasters to ensure no bacteria gets into the wound while it heals naturally. 

Depending on your lifestyle, you might choose…

They all work the same way but have different benefits to help you get on with daily activities while keeping your wound safe. Find out more information and guidance on using plasters, as told by the experts at Steroplast Healthcare.

Closed Surgical Wounds

Closed surgical wounds are among the least complicated wounds where healing is concerned because they are held closed with stitches, glue, or wound closure strips. A surgical incision wound will generally heal completely within two weeks. 

Plaster strips are generally used on closed surgical wounds. However, they can sometimes be open-ended (rather than adhesive all the way around to seal off the area underneath completely). Because of this, it’s important to keep checking your plaster and the skin underneath and ensure it is not soiled.

Follow our guide for how to use plaster strips.

When can I take the plaster off my implant?

After your procedure, keep the plaster on for 24 hours undisturbed. After 24 hours, you can have a bath or shower. Allow the dressing to remain in place and dry naturally. After three to five days, you can remove the dressing. 

Be sure to keep an eye on the insertion site for any signs of infection and keep it clean. 

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Using a plaster is a convenient and efficient way to manage a minor wound and stop it from preventing everyday activities. Covering a cut with a small, adhesive dressing means you can get on with life without worrying about potential infection or discomfort. 

This is especially true of our Steroplast fabric plasters, which were voted Which? #1 best plaster in the UK against other mainstream brands. Our plasters stay in place no matter what.

How long should you leave a plaster on?

On a normal wound, a plaster can be left on for up to two days. But what do we mean by ‘normal’?

  • The wound is not infected.
  • The wound is not very extensive or very deep.
  • The wound does not have anything embedded in it.
  • The wound is not bleeding heavily or producing lots of exudate.

How Often to Change a Plaster

If you’re asking, ‘how often should I change a plaster?’ it really depends on what’s happening underneath. Follow the guide in the table below for how long to leave a plaster on a wound, but also look for these signs that it might need to be changed earlier.

  • The plaster is soiled.
  • Exudate or blood is coming through the edges of the plaster.
  • There is an unpleasant smell coming from the plaster.
  • The area around or under the plaster feels hot, hard, or painful when pressure is applied.

These are signs that the wound could be infected or at risk of infection. If you notice these signs, remove the plaster as soon as you can and inspect the wound for signs of infection. If you are worried, you could ask your GP to examine it. Clean the wound thoroughly and allow it to air dry before applying a new plaster.

Signs of Infection:

Unpleasant smell

Unpleasant smell

Hot and hard at the wound site

Hot and hard at the wound site

Pus coming from the wound

Pus coming from the wound

Painful

Painful

Not healing or getting worse

Not healing or getting worse

It’s also a good idea to check for signs of an allergic reaction to the plaster, especially in the case of young children.

Different Types of Plasters and Their Duration of Use

Different types of wounds and plasters may require more or less frequent changes. Here’s an easy guide to follow with some of the different types of plasters. 

Type of PlasterConsiderationsDuration of Use
Standard fabric plasterThe fabric is more likely to become soiled as it is not waterproof.1–2 days
Washproof plasterWaterproof plaster material is less breathable than other varieties.1–2 days
Hydrocolloid plasterUsed on light to moderate exudate wounds, so drainage should be monitored, and plasters changed more frequently if they are soaked.Up to a week (provided it does not become soaked)
Plaster stripsOften used on closed surgical wounds.Follow your doctor’s advice. Plaster strips can sometimes remain in place until the wound is fully healed.
Blue plastersUsed in catering environments but otherwise the same as nude washproof plasters. Be sure to change them if they seem to be coming loose.1–2 days

In the workplace, plasters must be used to cover wounds, not only to protect the wearer but to prevent cross-contamination of body fluids. This is particularly relevant for food handling businesses where blue plasters must be worn. The duration of use for plasters in this table can be followed in the workplace as well as at home. Blue plasters should be changed every one to two days unless soiled or coming loose.

How Long to Keep Blister Plasters On

If you want to know how long to leave blister plasters on, it’s important to understand how hydrocolloids work.

Hydrocolloid plasters and dressings can be worn for up to a week, and it is, in fact, better to change them less frequently. De-roofed blisters and healing burns benefit from the undisturbed environment under a hydrocolloid layer where new skin cells can grow. Changing the plaster can risk removing new cell growth in progress. 

However, hydrocolloids are used on wounds with light to moderate exudate (such as blisters and weeping wounds rather than standard cuts and grazes), so it’s important to make sure the plaster or dressing isn’t being soaked as this can elongate the healing process and even heighten infection risk.

Healing Times of Different Types of Wounds

Blisters

Generally, blisters heal in three to seven days. Blisters should not be de-roofed unless done by a professional because there’s a heightened risk of infection from the open wound. Instead of popping a blister, put a hydrocolloid blister plaster over it to allow for safe, painless drainage and healing.

Blister plasters also work on spots to speed up the spot life cycle.

Burns

Burns can vary in severity, size, and placement, all of which affect the time it takes for the wound to heal. Because burns are open wounds similar to sores, they can be quite painful and take longer to heal since, rather than simply the case of an incision closing, new skin needs to grow over a larger surface area.

The best plaster to use on a burn is a hydrocolloid or hydrogel. More extensive burns may need special dressings such as large, occlusive Burnshield dressings impregnated with hydrogel and cooling agents that are more effective than cold water.

Check our guide on how to dress a burn to learn more about burncare.

Lacerations

Cuts are the most common wounds that require the use of plasters. Minor cuts may close up immediately on their own, but it’s a good idea to clean them and cover them with plasters to ensure no bacteria gets into the wound while it heals naturally. 

Depending on your lifestyle, you might choose…

They all work the same way but have different benefits to help you get on with daily activities while keeping your wound safe. Find out more information and guidance on using plasters, as told by the experts at Steroplast Healthcare.

Closed Surgical Wounds

Closed surgical wounds are among the least complicated wounds where healing is concerned because they are held closed with stitches, glue, or wound closure strips. A surgical incision wound will generally heal completely within two weeks. 

Plaster strips are generally used on closed surgical wounds. However, they can sometimes be open-ended (rather than adhesive all the way around to seal off the area underneath completely). Because of this, it’s important to keep checking your plaster and the skin underneath and ensure it is not soiled.

Follow our guide for how to use plaster strips.

When can I take the plaster off my implant?

After your procedure, keep the plaster on for 24 hours undisturbed. After 24 hours, you can have a bath or shower. Allow the dressing to remain in place and dry naturally. After three to five days, you can remove the dressing. 

Be sure to keep an eye on the insertion site for any signs of infection and keep it clean. 

Please enter your details into the form below along with any questions or comments and a member of our team will be happy to provide you with more information:

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