First Aid Bandaging Injuries and Wounds From Head to Toe

May 3, 2020

Care of wounds on the face
Facial skin is delicate and there are many blood vessels in the area, so if you cut or scrape your face, you may bleed profusely. If your facial injury bleeds, clean the area with soap and water to reduce the risk of infection. Apply pressure to the area with sterile gauze to stop the bleeding. Once the bleeding stops, you can leave the area uncovered if it is a minor cut or abrasion. If it gives you peace of mind, you can put a small bandage over the area. If the wound is deep, jagged, or more than half an inch in length, you may need stitches. If you are concerned about forming a scar, see your doctor immediately.

Avoid blisters
If your little blister hasn’t popped yet, you can leave it uncovered. It should heal without any extra help. However, if the blister is in an area where it is likely to rub, such as the bottom of your foot, cover it up. Choose a soft bandage that has some cushioning. Be sure to cover the broken blister to reduce the risk of infection. If the blister is on your toe, you can use a special toe bandage to better fit the area. The purpose of a blister bandage is not only to cover an area from infection, but also to reduce the risk of friction and rupture.

How do I care for sprains and strains?
Strains and sprains are common injuries, especially to the ankle. A sprain is an injured (stretched) or torn ligament. A strain is an injury to a tendon or muscle. This type of injury can cause pain and swelling. Doctors recommend icing the sprain or strain (to prevent the skin from freezing), wrapping it in a bandage, and elevating the injured area. If the injury is severe, physical therapy and surgery may be required.

Treatment of minor burns
Never try to treat serious burns yourself at home. Always seek medical attention for burns to the hands, feet, face or genitals. Do not try to treat burns more than 2 inches in diameter yourself. Seek medical help. To treat small, minor burns, rinse with cold water to lower the temperature of the affected skin. Apply a little antibiotic ointment to the affected area. Do not use oil, butter or powder on the burn. Put a special non-stick bandage on the burn area. Secure it with a bandage. Do not use a sticky bandage on the burn as it may cause more damage.

Closure of open wounds and incisions
Sometimes the wound is like a laceration in the skin. When this happens, it’s important to secure the sides of the wound together to help heal. As soon as the edges of the wound can be brought together, close the wound with a butterfly bandage. The butterfly bandage must be placed across the wound to keep the sides together. Depending on the length of the wound, you may need more than one butterfly bandage. If the wound is deep or is still bleeding after at least 15 minutes of pressure, seek medical attention. You may need help stopping the bleeding and stitching. If the wound is more than half an inch long, seek medical attention.

Keep an eye on the surgical wound
Care for the surgical incision so that it is clean and dry. Change the dressing as directed by the surgeon. Check the wound for signs of infection each time you remove the dressing. This includes redness and a yellowish or greenish discharge. An odor may also indicate infection.

Care for a bruised knee or elbow.
Large joints like knees and elbows can be difficult to cover, partly because they have a wide range of motion. If you have cuts or abrasions on your knees or elbows, use a large bandage or try a liquid bandage so you can move them easily. Special bandages with wings can also be used. Liquid bandages are good for wounds that have minor bleeding. They also help protect the wound from water and dirt. You only need to use the liquid bandages once. They are shower resistant, so you can shower with this material.

Covering awkward areas
Heels, fingers and knuckles are uniquely shaped and move frequently, so covering them with a bandage can be a challenge. Finger bandages and elastic bandages can both be used because they have plenty of room to move. Look for bandages that are shaped like an hourglass or a notch so they are easier to place over these tricky areas.

Covering large scratches
Large abrasions are best kept moist to support healing. You can do this by applying an antibiotic ointment or hydrocolloid bandage, or by closing the bandage. Clean the wound carefully and change the dressing regularly. Watch for signs of infection, such as redness, yellowish or greenish discharge or odor.

Special considerations for hands and feet
Your hands and feet are unique parts of your body because they are exposed to more dust than other parts of your body. Keep the wounds on your hands and feet covered. Adhesive bandages also help protect the injured area from socks and shoes that can irritate the wound. Change your bandages regularly, especially if they become dirty or wet. If you have puncture wounds or deep cuts on your hands or feet, seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

When to see a doctor
Certain cuts, abrasions, and wounds are severe enough to warrant a trip to the doctor. If you have a puncture wound, deep cut, or other wound that does not stop bleeding after a few minutes of pressure, seek medical help. Adults who have suffered these types of wounds should receive the tetanus vaccine if they have not been vaccinated against tetanus in the past 5 years. If your child has deep cuts or wounds, ask your pediatrician if a tetanus vaccine is needed. If the wound becomes red, painful or swollen, it is important to seek medical attention. Discharge and fever are also signs that you need to see a doctor.