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First Aid 

Bandages and Dressings

Covering a wound with a bandage or dressing helps prevent infection. In cases of severe bleeding, a pressure dressing may be applied, which applies pressure to the wound and helps stop bleeding. Pre-packaged sterile dressings are the best type to use but any type of gauze or clean, non fluffy material will work when applying a dressing. Small cuts may be dressed with a simple adhesive bandage and antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin. There are many different types of bandages and dressings, including sterile wound dressings, roller bandages, hand bandages, and triangular bandages. 

Sterile wound dressings are to be used on open wounds. To apply a sterile wound dressing, take the following steps:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water and put on sterile, latex-free exam gloves.

  2. Do not touch the area of the dressing that will cover the wound. Place the dressing pad directly on top of the wound, covering the entire wound, and apply gentle pressure to stop the bleeding. 

  3. If blood seeps through the dressing, do not remove the original dressing. Simply place another sterile dressing on top of the old one. If saturates both dressings, remove the saturated dressings and apply a fresh sterile wound dressing. 

  4. Check the circulation in the affected limb by checking the injured individual’s pulse. If there is no pulse or a faint pulse, re-apply the dressing less tightly. You may also check capillary refill by pressing on the individual’s fingernails. If the color does not return within 2 seconds, the dressing has been placed too tight and must be reapplied. 

  5. Dispose of used dressings in a plastic bag and remove gloves only after all soiled material is disposed of. Wash your hands with soap and water after removing gloves. 

Roller bandages are to be used on elbow, knee, and ankle joints following strains or sprains. To apply a roller bandage, take the following steps:

  1. Begin with the bandage on the inside just above the joint and support the injured limb.

  2. Make one turn around the limb to secure the bandage and make another loop just below the joint.

  3. Continue bandaging in a figure eight pattern both above and below the joint, covering approximately two-thirds of the previous bandaging with each turn.

  4. Secure the end of the bandage with tape, a safety pin, or with the connected fastener.

  5. Check the circulation in the affected limb by checking the injured individual’s pulse. If there is no pulse or a faint pulse, re-apply the bandage less tightly. You may also check capillary refill by pressing on the individual’s fingernails. If the color does not return within 2 seconds, the bandage has been placed too tight and must be reapplied. 

A hand bandage may be used to hold a dressing in place on a hand or to support a wrist injury. To apply a hand bandage, take the following steps:

  1. Wrap the bandage twice straight around the wrist below the base of the thumb.

  2. Wrap the bandage diagonally across the back of the hand towards the pinky fingernail. 

  3. Wrap the bandage across the front of the hand in between the thumb and first finger. 

  4. Wrap the bandage straight around the wrist again and repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 until the bandage runs out. 

  5. Finish the bandage with 2 turns straight around the wrist and secure the end of the bandage.

Hand Bandage.jpg

Image obtained from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Hand,_The_Bandage.jpg 

License: CC BY-SA 2.0

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en

See slings to learn how to apply a triangular bandage.

Resources

Austin, M., Crawford, R., & Armstrong, V. J. (2014). First aid manual. (G. M. Piazza, Ed.) (5th ed.). DK Publishing. https://kuiyem.ku.edu.tr/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/American-College-of-Emergency-Physicians-ACEP-First-Aid-Manual.pdf.