How to Bandage a Wound
Bandaging a wound is a simple process, but also one that requires basic knowledge of first aid and a certain amount of practice to get right. Surely everyone has had some scratches and cuts over the years, and the common sense ways that people deal with them are usually not far from the established standard of care. The details will vary slightly depending on the severity of the wound, but the basic procedures for dressing a wound are described below.
Make Sure You Don’t Add to the Problem
The Hippocratic Oath to which all doctors swear states that you should first do no harm and applies to all wound treating. If a wound is tender, do not stretch the skin or probe the cut too deeply. If you do feel comfortable treating the wound and there is someone else available to help, then ask them. If you do treat the wound, first clean your hands of all dirt and debris. Use soap and hot water if it is conveniently available. You might even consider protective gloves if infectious disease is a concern.
Clean the Wound Thoroughly
The next step with bandaging a wound is to prepare the wound by cleaning it of any dirt, debris, or dried blood. Any such material left in the wound once bandaged will defeat the purpose and result in infection. Use water, and mild antibiotic soap, and/or a damp cloth to wash the area. Gently probe the area to make sure that it is entirely clean.
Apply an Antibiotic to Help Speed Wound Repair
Many over-the-counter products such as Neosporin have been shown to reduce the time it takes for a wound to heal. They also protect the wound from airborne germs that may get past a traditional bandage. Apply a good deal of antibiotic gel so that it will not be smeared off by the bandage.
Cover the Wound with an Appropriate Bandage
Once the wound is cleaned and an antibiotic is applied, find a bandage that is an appropriate size for the wound. Generally speaking, there should be a little room on every side of the wound covered. For a minor wound such as a paper cut, this will only require a Band-Aid. For more unusual wounds such as burns, punctures, or other large cuts, a large sterile bandage may be needed. Cut a section of bandage and apply over the wound, then affix it in place with medical or any other easier to remove tape.