Bandaging for Protection

Use of protective bandaging may be considered in blister-prone areas such as arms, legs, hands and feet. Many people believe in the benefits of protective bandaging for preventing blister formation. Others are just as certain it inhibits the development of functional use of the hands and fingers and of balance and walking, increases the risk for developing contractures, and is miserably uncomfortable and hot. The choice of whether to use protective bandaging must be made by the individual or the caregiver.

A reasonable recommendation is to evaluate the skin's response to being bandage-free. Try a small area, perhaps the forearm or upper arm. If no blisters occur when these bandages are removed, try removing more the next time. Many parents and caregivers report that when they finally decided to remove the protective bandages, the skin reacted surprisingly well, with little or no blister formation. Other caregivers, however, report an increase in blistering in the exposed areas with fewer blisters when protective bandages were again applied.

No tape or adhesives should be applied to EB skin, as these may result in severe blistering when removed. Tape should only be applied to dressings and bandages, if needed. The use of a gentle, silicone tape such as Mepitac® (from Molnlycke) may be considered if tape must be applied directly to the skin.

Maintaining a cool environment is helpful, because EB skin may be more fragile in the heat and humidity. Also, lubricating the skin daily with a non-medicated ointment such as Vaseline or Aquaphor will reduce trauma to the skin by reducing friction.