The Essential First Aid Course, Part 3: Dressing Wounds
When there is a break in the skin it can get infected and especially if you're in the outdoors with all the influences of your environment. contaminants and pathogens are free to enter your body through the break so in this situation you'll need to know how to dress a wound.
There are 3 types of dressing layers you need to know about-sterile dressing, gauze and bandage.
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#1. sterile dressing.
A non-sticky sterile dressing won't further damage and contaminate injured skin tissue. It keeps the wound clean when the dressing is replaced
#2. Absorbent Gauze
You will place this layer on top of the non-stick dressing in order to draw out the discharge from the wound.
Gauze will also make the patient more comfortable due to pus and other body fluids cleanup, and the chance of further infection being reduced significantly
The bandage will hold the two layers in place and protect the wound further. Gauze and dressings are essentially useless without proper bandaging since they will likely fall off when the patients moves about.
Gaping wounds are those that expose deeper layers below the skin and can cause more profuse bleeding. These are the kinds usually associated with a knife cut or something similar.
The Steri Strip
In a disaster emergency situation, durable and highly adhesive Steri strips are cloth strips that you want to have in your first aid kit. They are perfect for dressing up gaping wounds when they are placed perpendicularly to the wound for bringing the two separate edges together.
This will promote faster healing while also facilitating a professional and neat looking scar.
These strips come in different sizes and lengths so keep varying sizes in your kit so you can treat a variety of gaping wounds.
Using steri strips to close wounds is only ideal for relatively shallow wounds.
If the wound is several layers deep (e.g. the wound has reached the fat and fascia), a steri strip will not be able to close the wound completely.
A qualified medical professional will be able to close the wound through suturing. Suturing of deep and invasive wounds is a sensitive process; each torn layer is individually closed before the final, external layer is stitched shut.
If a member of your family has been injured during a disaster and a large and deep wound results from the accident, do not place a steri strip on the wound.
In such situations, a steri strip can actually hamper proper healing. Instead, clean and dress the large wound once or twice a day to let it heal from the innermost torn layer.
Your main concern when caring for deep wounds is infection and possible gangrene.
Application of povidone iodine and hydrogen peroxide can help reduce the risk of bacterial infection if done properly. Be sure to stock a significant quantity of wound disinfectants, sterile gauze, bandages and dressings so you’re always ready to apply the proper first aid.
What should be done if the wound is a “flappy” type?
A slice-type injury can cause a portion of the skin to literally lift from the layer underneath.
Do not be afraid to treat such wounds. After sanitizing your hands, gently lift the flap of skin and clean the affected area beneath. Apply the dressing around the flap of skin and bandage it to close the gaping area. Applying several steri strips will help speed up healing, too.