How Long Do Medical Supplies Last?

 

Everything that exists has a shelf life, and sometimes they become ineffective or dangerous to use after a defined period. But how long do medical supplies last? All medical supplies have a manufacture date and an expiration date printed on their packaging. It is best to check these two dates before you buy any medical supplies. Make sure not to purchase medical stores that have outlived their shelf life or are nearing their shelf life.

Expiration Dates

All product labels have a printed expiration date. All product labels will have this mandatory information.

  • Product Code

It is the unique product reference number that helps you to search the product online. The number is an essential reference in case of defective, faulty, or expired product replacement.

  • Lot/Batch Number

The products are manufactured in a specific quantity. These lots are in smaller batches during production. In case of a defect in production, the company calls back the entire set or lot found defective.

  • Date Of Revision/Manufacture

In certain products, after a specific time proof test is carried out to check its suitability. The date of revision informs you about the proof or last updating of the product.

  • Expiration Date

It indicates the unsuitability of the use of the product. Many items are no longer safe to use after the expiration date, and others are ineffective after the expiration date. 

Do First Aid Kits Expire?

Yes, all first aid kits have an expiration life. Bandages lose their sterility after some time. Similarly, sterilizing wipes lose their ability to be sterile. In addition, plasters also lose their sterility and adhesiveness after a specified period.

When Should We Replace First Aid Kit?

Knowing when to replace the first aid kit is essential. It ensures the right gear is in your medical aid kit in times of emergency. Typically, all first aid kits have an expiration date ranging between three to five years. 

Either the first aid kit loses its ability to be sterile or gets affected by dust and moisture. In addition, the effectiveness reduces due to exposure to heat and air. Adhesive power reduces in due time. In places where the humidity level is high, it is better to often replace the first aid kit. 

How To Inspect Medical Supplies?

  1. Medicines

All medicine labels will have a manufacturing date and an expiration date printed. Check all the medicines in your medicine box. Discard all medications that are over the expiration date.

  1. Bandages And Dressing

Sealed bandages and dressing pads do not expire. Any sterile product you open and do not use is no longer sterile and should therefore you should throw it away. 

Check all non-sterile bandages for expiration dates and damages. Discard if there is any indication of mildew, moisture, or discoloration. When in doubt, discard the medical supplies.

  1. Gauze

Check the seal when inspecting gauze rolls. If the seal is damaged and there are signs of discoloration, moisture, or condensation, discard the roll. 

Ways To Check The Expiration Date If It Is No Longer Visible

All medical supplies will have a printed expiration date. If you are unable to find it due to some reason, check the batch and lot number. You can also check the year of manufacturing or revision date. You should discard medical supplies after approximately three years. 

Another way is to check with the manufacturer quoting the lot details. If you can, the manufacturer might even replace your medical supplies. In addition, you visually inspect the medical stores and decide on your judgment.

Keep A Check List 

We recommend you keep a checklist for all medical supplies. You can write the product name, its manufacturing date, and expiration date on the index. Paste this handy checklist on the first aid/medical aid kit. Every time you open the box, you will know which medicines have outlived their life and which ones you need to throw away.

Conclusion

All medical supplies come with an expiration date on the label. Moreover, the manufacturer must provide all the details of their pharmaceutical products. All products that have surpassed their shelf life do not need re-testing. It is crucial to have your first aid kit well-stocked. In addition, it is equally important to keep track of expired medical supplies.