Band-Aids, OreganKnow and the Jersey Tomato, born in New Jersey:
Jersey Tomatoes are iconic and lend credence to New Jersey’s nickname, the Garden State. But New Jersey is also well known as the national leader in pharmaceuticals and medical innovations. In fact, both OreganKnow healing ointment and BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages were both invented and patented in New Jersey.
As the story goes, in 1885 Robert Wood Johnson heard a lecture about anti- sepsis from Dr. Joseph Lister, a Scottish surgeon. Lister was the first physician to realize the importance of keeping disease causing bacteria away from wounds during surgery to prevent post-operative infections. Through a process called anti-sepsis, he was the first doctor to perform surgery with instruments that were chemically sterilized. He subsequently advocatedchemically sterilized wound dressings. At that time, these ideas markedly decreased post operative wound infections. Soon afterwards, Robert Wood Johnson teamed up with his two brothers to form Johnson & Johnson and in 1886 they started producing gauze for wounds. Following on the work of Lister the dressings were sterile and packaged in air-tight containers to prevent contamination by bacteria. Woven absorbent cotton gauze was invented and became commercially available soon afterwards in 1891.
In 1920, Johnson and Johnson patented and started selling BAND-AID®
Brand Adhesive Bandages. This product was invented by Earle Dickenson who at the time worked for Johnson and Johnson, purchasing cotton to manufacture gauze. Dickenson and his newlywed wife, Josephine, lived on Montgomery Street in Highland Park, New Jersey. Though his wife was great with the culinary arts, she was clumsy and frequently cut and burned her fingers and arms while cooking and baking. On returning home, Earle would bandage his wife’s wounds with gauze and surgical tape, both produced by J&J at that time. Subsequently, to facilitate the first aide process for his wife, before leaving home for work, Earle cut a long strip of
surgical tape and placed it on the counter with the sticky side up. At regular intervals he placed gauze in the middle of the tape strip. In this way, once his wife was injured with a kitchen mishap, she would simply cut off a piece of ape with the gauze in the middle and self administer a ready-made first aide bandage. A light bulb went off in his head, he had an epiphany. He went to his direct supervisor, James Wood Johnson, brother to Robert Wood Johnson, and suggested cutting strips of adhesive, incorporating the gauze in the middle of these short strips of tape and covering the adhesive with an easily removed fabric for easy application on a wound. The BAND-AID® promoted to Vice president of Johnson and Johnson and a member of the
Johnson & Johnson Board of Directors.
Brand Adhesive Bandages was born and Earle Dickenson eventually was BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages were not only a tremendous
financial success for J&J but they minimized exposure of wounds to
infection causing bacteria. Unfortunately, until the 1960s it was assumed that wounds healed better if allowed to dry out. At that time, researcher George D. Winter changed the healing paradigm by proving that if a wound was kept moist it resulted in improved wound healing with less pain less and post healing scarring. In fact, by applying a non-allergeic healing ointment such as OreganKnow with or without the a Band-Aid or other dressing results in 5 times faster healing compared to a dry scabbed wound.
As a final ironic twist to the story, LISTERINE® mouth wash was
developed in 1879 and named LISTERINE® in honor of Dr Lister.
Originally sold by the Lambert Pharmaceutical Company, since 2006, it has been produced and sold by Johnson and Johnson.
Unfortunately, some people experience irritant contact dermatitis from repeatedly applying and removing an adhesive Band-Aid or adhesive tape over gauze applied on the wound. Occasionally, some become actually allergic to the adhesive in Band-Aides or surgical tape leading to allergic contact dermatitis. One rarely becomes allergic to latex in Band-Aids. If you have irritant or allergic contact dermatitis try Micropore™ Paper Hypoallergenic Surgical Tape over a Telfa Ouchless non-adherent dressing. An alternative is a hypoallergenic Band-Aids such as Curad Sensitive Skin Gentle Fabric Sterile Latex-Free Bandages which contain hypoallergenic gentle adhesive.
If you still have a problem with dermatitis around the wound then consider OreganKnow healing ointment on the wound covered by a Telfa pad and self adherent cohesive wrap bandages. The latter are simple to wrap around a finger or limb, easy to tear, and self adherent, thus obviating the need for clips or safety pins. An alternative to self adherent cohesive wrap bandages are Kerlix gauze bandage rolls but these will need reinforcement with external tape and are harder to keep in place.