Skin is a critical component of the body. The skin serves as valuable protection against infections and diseases. Skin that has been scraped or cut makes internal organs as well as the bloodstream vulnerable and susceptible to potentially dangerous bacteria and germs. This is why it is very important to properly wash and protect cuts and scrapes.
It is also important to properly bandage cuts and scrapes so they stop bleeding as soon as possible. The pressure of the bandage is often enough to stop bleeding that isn’t severe. In addition, wounds that are properly bandaged heal more evenly and are less likely to develop scar tissue.
People often think bandaging wounds is as simple as slapping on an adhesive bandage, but it’s crucial to care for and bandage wounds properly. Some also think that exposing wounds to the air will help them heal faster. The fact is, if a wound is properly cleaned and cared for it actually heals faster when bandaged.
Stocking the First-aid Kit or Medicine Cabinet
All bandages are not created equally. Choose bandages carefully, and keep a first-aid kit or medicine cabinets well-stocked. Bandages should be available in various sizes, and the gauze pads on the bandages should be covered with nonstick material.
Medicine cabinets and first-aid kits should be stocked with flexible bandages of various sizes. They are great for areas requiring movement such as fingers and elbows. Flexible bandages are generally more comfortable and stay on better than standard adhesive bandages.
Butterfly bandages should also be included in first-aid kits and medicine cabinets. They are appropriate for holding together minor cuts that are less than one inch long. Butterfly bandages help stop bleeding by compressing and holding the two sides of separated skin together, and they help minimize scarring. For more serious cuts that require stitches, butterfly bandages are helpful until the wound can be cared for and stitched by a health care professional.
Antibacterial cream is also a must for a medicine cabinet or first-aid kit. After cleaning a cut or abrasion, antibacterial first-aid cream helps prevent infections and keeps the wound moist as it heals.
Elastic wraps, a roll of sterile gauze, and medical tape is also a must for a first-aid kit or medicine cabinet. It’s better to have these items on hand so they are readily available if they are needed.
Cleaning and Bandaging Wounds
All wounds including cuts and scrapes should be properly cleaned no matter how uncontaminated they appear to be. Carefully and thoroughly clean wounds with warm water and antibacterial soap. Clean within the wound as well as around it, and rinse the wound until any dirt or foreign matter is gone. If after rinsing several minutes, dirt or other material remains within the wound, try to remove it using sterile gauze pads, sterile cotton swabs, or sterilized tweezers.
To properly sterilize metal tweezers, boil them in water for approximately 10 minutes. For a faster method of sterilization, hold the tweezers in a flame until the tips begin glowing. Be sure to wipe off any carbon with sterile material, and allow the tweezers to completely cool before using them.
After thoroughly cleaning the wound, pat the area dry with sterile gauze, and choose a bandage that has a gauze pad large enough to cover the entire wound. That way when the bandage is removed the adhesive won’t cause more damage to already injured skin.
If the first bandage applied becomes soiled with blood, change it often until the wound has stopped bleeding. The bandage should be removed daily before bathing, dried with sterile material, and once again covered with a clean bandage of appropriate size.