The Essential First Aid Course, Part 2: How to Stop Bleeding and Infection
We’ve already gone over applying CPR and why in our First Aid series HERE and now we’ll show you what you need to know about caring for various types if wounds as well as what to keep in your 1st aid kit.
Four objectives come into play with wound care techniques. 1) Stopping or at lease reducing the bleeding 2) Cleaning the wound to minimalize bacterial and viral infection 3) Protecting the wound with proper dressing application, and 4) Initiating a natural healing process for the wound(s) you are working on.
Often a wound may only need minor care such as bandaging when the bleeding is minimal from surface scratches and small skin breaks. But in the event of a large and deeper wound bleeding can be profuse and can be difficult to slow the flow of blood.
In this situation you will need to:
- Apply adequate pressure to facilitate clotting of the blood flow using clean gauze. Be sure your pressure is consistent and so not cause further injury by pressing down too hard.
- Have the person lie down as this can slow down the blood flow by decreasing heart rate and blood pressure.
- In cases where the wound is bleeding from limbs like feet, legs, arms, etc. you want to elevate the body part above the heart in order to bring down blood pressure and therefore excessive bleeding
- Sometimes the wound is too deep and these techniques won’t stop the bleeding. In this case you need to add more layers of gauze or cloth to help absorb the blood but don’t move the wound as it might undo the clotting that has already started.
Infection can cause tissue damage and even gangrene so you will need to:
- act quick in removing any foreign material but don’t try to pull out anything from within the wound as it may cause further tissue damage.
- Inspect the wound daily and apply disinfectants like povidone iodine or alcohol at the perimeter of the wound
- Gauze ( preferably non-stick) should be replaced daily as it will become infected by bacteria.
- Be sure to additionally apply bandaging that will hold the gauze layers in place. You can alternatively use long pieces of clean cloth.
First Aid Materials to Keep in Your Kit
Your first aid kit is going to be very important. In it, you will need to have your basic care items. This includes eye rinses, band aids, tweezers, needle and thread, antibiotic ointment and burn cream. In addition to this you will want to have:
- Hemostatic Agent
- Primary Wound Closure
- H Bandage
- Pressure Dressing
- Medical Tape
- Allergy Medicine
- Pain Medication
- povidone iodine or alcohol
- nonstick gauzes and dressings
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