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Bandaging an Open Wound: Basic First Aid

Updated on May 6, 2016

A situation may come up, especially if you are a first aider, when you may have to bandage an open wound.

This needs to be done quickly enough, depending on how much the wound is bleeding, but for a cut, there is no need to worry too much, you don't need to be the fastest bandager in the west!

The most important thing when dealing with an open wound is to stop it bleeding and to keep it clean, so that it doesn't get infected. That is the purpose of bandaging. There are a few different size bandages to choose from in an average first aid kit. (In a first aiders kit there will be more than in a small home first aid kit).

bandage with a pad
bandage with a pad

Choosing the right size bandage

There are a number of sizes and types of bandage in the first aid kit, so which one do you choose?

For a cut to the arm, the bandage with a pad in the middle of it is appropriate. When bandaging, the pad goes directly over the wound to stop bleeding and also to protect it from possible infection.

You just choose the size that is appropriate to the size of the wound. If it is very small only a plaster may be needed, if it is very large, a large bandage may be needed.

bandaging | Source


Bandaging a cut to the arm

Unroll the bandage until you reach the pad, then place the pad (absorbent side down) directly over the wound, making sure it is covered completely. Start to wrap the rest of the bandage around the arm and on top of the pad. Do this tightly enough so the bandage is not loose, but not too tight. Do this so the whole pad is covered and keep doing this until you reach the end of the bandage, then tie over the top of the bandaged area. This puts a little extra pressure on the wound.

The arm may be put in an elevation sling. Raising it this way will cause blood to flow down away from the arm more easily than it can be pumped up towards the hand, because of gravity, so this may also help to reduce bleeding.

Transport to hospital may or may not be needed depending on the size and severity of the wound.


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