Cotton has many properties that make it well suited for the healthcare industry. It is soft, absorbent and hypoallergenic, and responds well to all three major sterilization methods. Today, we will look at the role of cotton for medical use in today's medical and healthcare fields and why this fiber is favored by so many doctors and nurses.
(1) Non-implantable products are cotton products for external use; for example, dressings, bandages, pads, gloves, masks and medical gowns.
(2) Implanted products are cotton products used in the body; for example, tampons.
(3) Extracorporeal products are cotton products used outside the body during surgery; for example, debridement sponges.
(4) Hygiene products are cotton products used to keep the body clean; for example, baby wipes, diapers, feminine hygiene wipes, and disinfectant wipes.
In the healthcare industry, cotton for medical use can be used in its purest form as 100% cotton, fabric composites, or blended with other fibers.
Cotton has been used in medicine since the Middle Ages. Untreated raw cotton fibers were used in several medical applications, including forming pads over dressed wounds, protecting burns and scalds, and acting as early "drainage tubes" by keeping wound edges open. However, the cotton of the time was not purified, making it risky for such applications and a far cry from the easily sterilized cotton products used in hospitals today.
By the mid-19th century, doctors began using "carded cotton" to comb cotton into fine hairs to treat burns and other skin conditions. This type of cotton was cleaned and washed before use, making it safer than the untreated raw cotton. As the 18th century drew to a close, more and more doctors began to rely on bleached cotton to treat their patients. This paved the way for the ultra-safe purified cotton we know and love today.
Cotton for medical use has come a long way from its early use in the medical field. Today, it is ubiquitous in modern hospitals and clinics and is one of the safest fibers in the world. Cotton has proven to be an effective tool for treating and protecting patients' health, both in absorbent and non-absorbent forms.