The Essential First Aid Course, Part 3: Dressing Wounds

Benefits of dressing and bandaging wounds

A wound is a kind of injury that occurs quickly in which the victim’s skin is cut, torn, or punctured and increases the victim’s risk of contracting infections.

Dressing a wound prevents it from coming into contact with contaminants and infections. These contaminants and germs tend to enter the body through the open wound.

A perfect dressing

A perfect dressing consists of the sterile dressing, gauze, and bandage.

Sterile dressing:

The essence of using non-stick sterile dressing is to prevent the wound from further deterioration and contamination. Users are advised to make use of the non-stick sterile dressing as it does not have any tendency of damaging the already injured skin tissue, primarily when the dressing is being replaced.

Absorbent Gauze:

The absorbent gauze is the next layer after the non-stick sterile dressing layer. Its sole objective is to extract exudates from the open skin.

Administering gauze on the wound will enhance the patient’s comfort and hence lower the chances of contacting infection owing to the discharge of pus and other body fluids.

The Bandage:

This layer aims at holding the two lower layers previously mentioned to enable them to expel fluids from the wound thereby protect the injury properly. Gauze and dressings tend to be useless without adequate bandaging, as they will undoubtedly fall off when the patient is in motion.

Managing gaping wounds

A wound is said gape when there is a tremendous break that distinctly separates the skin, thereby revealing the layers and tissues underneath the epidermis. Injuries such as knife cuts, and other sharp, deep cuts, can quickly produce gaping and bleeding.

Gaping can easily be healed in a healthy child or adult as long as the individual is placed on a healthy nutritious diet and the wound is always kept clean and disinfected. Environments rich in oxygen can also aid in promoting faster healing.

What is a steri strip?

During emergency situations, it’s advisable to make use of steri strips to close gaping wounds bolster healing. Steri strips are adhesive strips of cloths placed perpendicularly to the gaping wound to join the two separate edges.

The cloth bolsters healing of the wound by joining the two separate broken surfaces of the skin thereby preventing contaminants from entering the wound. Any wound held together by a steri strip is likely to have a straight and neat scar on the surface of the wound when it eventually gets healed.

Steri strips are available in quite a variety of sizes and lengths. But it is advisable to own various sizes to enable you to treat a variety of gaping wounds.

It’s advisable to place the steri strips before the sterile dressing. This is perfect in situations where it’s pretty difficult to sew the wound. Most often, physicians prefer the use of steri strips to suturing, to lower bleeding and discomfort.

Can steri strips be used for deep, gaping wounds?

It’s ideal to use steri strips for only shallow wounds.

Steri strips wouldn’t be able to close deep wounds made up of several layers completely. Only a qualified medical practitioner will be able to close such wound through suturing. Suturing deep wounds is pretty sensitive as each torn layer is carefully closed before the external layer is finally stitched together.

If you happen to come across someone who has been severally injured during a disaster resulting in a broad and deep wound, do not place a steri strip on the wound as it could hamper adequate healing. Instead, clean and dress the wound at least once daily, as this will enable it to heal from the innermost torn layer.

Your primary responsibility when taking care of deep wounds is an infection and possible gangrene.

Applying hydrogen peroxide and povidone iodine lowers the risk of bacterial infection. Always stock up a significant number of disinfectants, bandages, sterile gauze, and dressings so that you are always ready for a first aid administration when the need arises.

How to treat a “flappy” type of wound

A flappy wound can cause the section of the skin where the injury is situated to lift away from the layer beneath.

Do not be scared of treating such wounds. After disinfecting your hands, slowly lift the separated flap of the skin and bandage close. This will close the gaping area. Also, ensure you apply lots of steri strips as this will aid in enhancing the healing process.

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