Covering a wound is critical in controlling bleeding and protecting against infection. With the proper supplies and following a few simple steps the task will be much easier and more effective.
- Wash your hands to avoid infection and, if possible, put on gloves to avoid contact with the victim’s blood.
- Stop the bleeding by applying gentle pressure with a clean bandage or cloth until bleeding stops.
- Clean the wound with mild soap and water or an all-in-one wound cleaner.
- Apply a thin layer of an antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly, if available, to keep the surface moist. This will help reduce scarring.
- Apply a clean dressing over the entire wound. A gauze dressing lets in air for faster healing. If the bleeding is severe and bleeds through, place another dressing over the first one.
- Extend the bandage at least an inch beyond both sides of the dressing.
- If using roller gauze wrap around the wound several times being careful not to wrap too tightly that it interferes with blood flow.
- Tie or tape the bandage in place.
- Check circulation in the area below the bandage after several minutes and again after a few hours. Signs of poor circulation are pale or blue skin that feels cold to the touch. Numbness and tingling are also signs of poor circulation. If you find that circulation is interrupted, loosen the bandage immediately.
- Change the dressing at least once a day or whenever the bandage becomes wet or dirty.
- Watch for signs of infection such as redness, increasing pain, drainage, warmth, or swelling on the skin or near the wound.
- If you haven’t had a tetanus shot in the past five years, it is recommended to get a tetanus shot if the wound is deep or dirty.
The best way to prepare is to have the proper supplies on hand. Fort Smith Medical & Janitorial Supply can keep your first aid kit fully stocked with gauze, gloves, and many other needed items. Order online or call 1.800.632.7876.