Use a bandage to cover cuts, scrapes, and superficial skin injuries to improve healing conditions and help prevent infection. Keep your first-aid kit stocked with a selection of bandages to cover different wound sizes.
If you are bleeding from a wound in one of your extremities (hands or feet), raise the wound above heart level, and, using a clean cloth, apply direct pressure to the wound. If the wound is elsewhere on the body, consider lying down as you continue to apply pressure. If the bleeding does not significantly diminish within 5 minutes, seek medical attention.
Once the bleeding has subsided, clean the wound in order to eliminate bacteria and debris:
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Gently rinse the wound with cold running water.
- Wash the area around the wound with mild soap. Try not to touch the wound itself with the soap. If dirt sticks to the wound, gently remove with tweezers that have been sterilized with alcohol or with clean gauze.
- Avoid the repeated use of antiseptics such as hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol or iodine tincture. These products can damage the cells that are regenerating and are not beneficial.
The purpose of applying a bandage is to keep the wound moist, accelerate healing, absorb any discharge, and increase comfort. Change the bandage if it gets dirty or wet. Before applying a new bandage, gently wash off any blood or dried secretions with water. If the bandage is stuck to the wound, run water over the bandage to help dislodge it without causing it to bleed or to prevent further damage.
There is a multitude of bandages on the market. Although there is no perfect bandage, here are some tips to help you find the one that is best suited for your needs:
- The bandage must be large enough so that the adhesive does not touch the wound.
- It must adhere to the healthy skin that surrounds the wound and remain in place for a few days. Every time a bandage is removed, the healing process is impaired.
- It must prevent bacteria, dirt and water from reaching the wound.
- It must absorb fluids weeping from the wound without drying it out.
Your pharmacist can help you choose the bandage that best suits your needs.
4. Medical consultation
You should see a doctor for any of the following types of wounds (you may need a tetanus shot if you are not up to date. Tetanus vaccinations are good for 10 years).
- Human or animal bites.
- Serious or complicated wounds (deep cuts, open wounds, "crush" wounds, or wounds that will not stop bleeding).
- Puncture wounds made by a pointed object (e.g., nail, screw, etc.).
- Very painful wounds.
- Wounds made by dirty or contaminated objects or that remain dirty or clogged with debris even after having been carefully washed with water.
- Signs of infection (inflammation, redness, heat, pain, pus, fever).
For more information on first aid and first-aid kits, speak to your pharmacist. They are there to help you and your family.