Selecting the appropriate dressing for wounds

Wounds can differ in size and shape as well as range from minor to life-threatening. Minor wounds can be easily treated with basic first aid without a trip to the hospital. As for jagged and deep wounds as well as punctures, they need medical care due to the high risk for developing an infection or reduced healing. Cases of wounds that bleed severely require emergency care and must be handled seriously. As long as you have all the basic supplies, you can take care of most wounds or at least control the bleeding of serious wounds until the medical team arrives.

Basic wound dressing

Small wounds

You have to determine the severity of the wound including the depth, length and blood loss. For scrapes and cuts, they cause small openings in the skin with little or no bleeding. These wounds typically close up right away. You can use a self-adhesive bandage to small wounds to prevent bacteria from entering.

Deep wounds


Apply a layer of gauze over the wound and tape it to prevent dirt from entering the affected area.

For deep wounds, you have to determine the width and depth and if it pierced through the muscle layer. A wound is considered deep if is more than ¼ inch deep and have jagged or gaping edges. You have to use butterfly bandages or medical tape to join the edges of the wounds.

Apply a layer of gauze over the wound and tape it to prevent dirt from entering the affected area. A health care professional can apply stitches if the wound has gaping edges that does not stay close or jagged edges that bulge from the bandage.

Bleeding wounds

For bleeding wounds, you have to apply pressure by holding gauze on the wound for 5 minutes or more to control the bleeding and then bandage it using layers of gauze and tape. If bleeding persists longer than 20 minutes, it requires a packing of gauze to control the flow of blood.

Apply direct pressure with sterile gauze and do not move the bandage to check on the wound. You have to bind the wound with a cloth, belt or tape. Apply an extra layer of gauze if blood soaks the first gauze applied. You have to continue to add layers but do not remove the first layer of gauze. Continue to apply pressure to the main artery and call for emergency assistance.

Puncture wounds

For puncture wounds, you have to find the source to determine the risk for bacterial exposure. The loss of blood is minimal on puncture wounds and they close up quickly. Nevertheless, bacteria can enter deeply and cause infections. You have to cover the wound with a small-sized adhesive bandage to protect the affected area from bacteria as it heals. You have to take the individual to a doctor or to the emergency department at the nearest hospital if the puncture wound was caused by any animal since there is a possibility that it has rabies.