Today I decided to write a little review on a product that I really wish I didn’t have to do. The reason for this is not for a lack of quality in the product, but the fact that I actually needed to use it. Yes, this is a first-aid bandage that I’ve had sitting in my cabinet waiting until needed, and now it is.
Several months ago I met with Mike at Shield-Safety, and went through their sales pitch about some first-aid products they had. While a lot of what they did was not new, they had several things that did pique my interest and stand out as something I wanted to buy. Now I’m not normally a person to give into a home sales pitch, but the Shield-Safety people approached us a little bit differently, they taught first-aid basics, and how to actually use the different items that you should have available in a home first-aid station. One of the products they had that got my attention was a sealed wrap for sprains.
I’ve always had a nice supply of compression wrap bandages to deal with my always twisting ankles. So why would I need something different? Well one of the main things you always need after a sprain is to keep the wounded area cold. The common way to do this is to surround with ice, however ice is too cold and to keep from causing more damage you follow the pattern of icing for fifteen minutes, then keeping it off for fifteen. The Wrap-It-Ice product helps with this by taking your gauze wrap, and keeps it soaked in Ethanol, Arnica, and Menthol.
Ethanol is included for two reasons that I can easily see. First the wood-grain alcohol has a good, known evaporation rate. This evaporation acts like sweating to actually cool the compressed area down. Secondly, while I wouldn’t want this on an open wound obviously, it does act as an antiseptic helping keep things clean.
This was a new one for me. Apparently Arnica refers to several plants related to the sunflower that collectively contain traces of thymol. And since I’m sure that leaves you with questions the same way it left me let me summarize some things I found online. Thymol is used in liniments and ointments because it is clinically proven to help with surface capillary damage (bruises), both in pain and in restoration. Also it seems to be used as a fungicide, and antiseptic. Not bad for extra features.
This is another great “multitasker” in sprain or bruise treatment. Menthol provides:
- A local/topical analgesic – gets rid of some of the pain
- Is a smooth muscle relaxant – lowers the tension and pain
- Is antipruritic – reduces itching
- Increases the cooling “sensation” – Feels better
- Essential – Usually made up from essential oils, and provides a smell that has a psychologically calming effect.
After a rather hard week at work, my wife and I decided to join several other couples last week at a volleyball night at our church. The fun evening ended (I should have expected it) when I landed wrong, and quite severely rolled my ankle. Having plenty of experience in the matter, I quickly got my shoe off, some ice on, and elevated my foot to quickly stabilize myself. After a few minutes, and allowing myself to get over the “CRAP THIS HURTS”, we went home so I could give it a little better treatment. My wife went to grab a bandage, and came back with one of the Wrap-It-Ice packages, deciding that now was as good of a time as any to see if it really lived up to its claims. We opened the pouch and dressed the ankle as normal, the only difference in that the bandage was quite wet.
For the first minute or so, I really didn’t feel much (outside of the “CRAP THIS HURTS”), but shortly after I began to feel what I’d hoped for. A nice cool sensation was starting to penetrate into my skin, and the aforementioned pain started getting pushed away. While I wouldn’t expect this to get rid of all pain, it very quickly made a notable difference, and after my ibuprofen kicked in, I was feeling quite well about things as long as I didn’t step on the darn foot.
The bandages claim that they will provide “An hour of instant cooling and compression”. Well about a minute to cut through a very painful sprain is about as instant as I think you can get, and that really did impress me. As for an hour, it seemed to go a bit longer. And yes, it was quite cool, but not frigid like ice so I didn’t have to rotate. It kept my ankle and a very steady temperature the whole time. I really do think it helped prevent the heavy bruising that I was expecting, and minimized my swelling (along with the proper procedures of elevating, and taking ibuprofen of course).
Now, could you make this yourself? I’m sure you could add alcohol and some essential oils to your bandage and get at least some of the benefits of this product. Even better if you can find a source and the proper dosage of that Arnica. I’d go so far as to say that would be a very good thing to learn and have on hand no matter what. BUT, this was actually a quite impressive product, at a pretty sane price for a medical item. They come in a nice sealed container so you don’t have to take the time to mix it together, and they’re made for a local company that seems to be trying pretty hard to not just sell first-aid equipment, but really wants to teach you how to use it.
For me, yeah, I want to learn how to do it myself. But I know I’ll be buying a replacement for my medicine cabinet as well. It’s a well-made product that really delivered as promised. And while I would have rather not had the opportunity to review it, I’m really glad it came out well in this real-world test. Go check it out for yourself: Wrap-It-Ice.