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I was at a store that had large hospital- and field grade medical bandages. Think stuff EMTs and field medics would work on somebody with: 5x12ish and quickclot and other stuff. They had several large types of gauze bandages where the packaging would let air in and out, albeit slowly. I don't understand how such a bandage can maintain its sterility while the packaging does that. Both different types appeared to have that semipermeable paper stuff. Does that semipermeable paper stuff allow molecules but not organisms?

By the way, if it's not obvious, I'm not a medical professional, nor do I have much expertise in this field, hence the mutulated jargon.

Edit:

This is the manufacturer's product page, and I'm referring to #512 and #5161

I called the manufacturer, and he said his manufacturer (isn't it great how that works today? lol) said they are supposed to do that, and the air is actually going into the gauze and that's why it appears to be deflating and re-inflating. He did not have a name for the phenomenon, nor the waxy paper coating.

If this is correctly, this is a valuable feature for something like this, that's meant to go in a bag, but I have a hard time believing that explanation.

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  • Was the paper a slightly waxy/slippery/plasticy texture? My guess is the paper has a thin layer of wax or plastic on it (possibly on the inside) this keeps air from permeating the packaging.
    – L.B.
    Aug 9, 2016 at 19:10
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    Air molecules (all of them) are orders of magnitude smaller than any bacteria or virus.
    – BillDOe
    Aug 15, 2016 at 23:41

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