First Aid For Wounds

First Aid For Wounds

First Aid For Wounds
Many wounds can be treated at home with proper first aid. It is important to keep the wound clean to speed healing and to reduce infection. Learn more about first aid for wounds from our experts.

Recently Answered

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    The following major injuries often require stitches:
    • Bleeding from an artery or uncontrolled bleeding
    • Wounds that show muscle or bone, involve joints, gape widely, or involve hands or feet
    • Wounds from large or deeply embedded objects
    • Wounds from human or animal bites
    • Wounds that, if left unstitched, could leave conspicuous scars, such as those on the face
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    A tourniquet is a tight band placed around an arm or a leg to constrict blood vessels in order to stop blood flow to a wound.
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    Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number if:
    • A person complains of severe pain or cannot move a body part without pain.
    • You think the force that caused the injury was great enough to cause serious damage.
    • An injured extremity is blue or extremely pale.
    • The person’s abdomen is tender and distended.
    • The person is vomiting blood or coughing up blood.
    • The person shows signs of shock or becomes confused, drowsy, or unconscious.
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    Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately for any major open wound.
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    General care for open wounds includes controlling bleeding, preventing infection, and using dressings and bandages.
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    Because of the potential for adverse effects, a tourniquet should be used only as a last resort in cases of delayed care or situations where response from emergency medical services (EMS) is delayed, when direct pressure does not stop the bleeding, or you are not able to apply direct pressure.

    A tourniquet may be appropriate if you cannot reach the wound because of entrapment, there are multiple injuries, or the size of the wound prohibits application of direct pressure.

    In most areas, application of a tourniquet is considered to be a skill at the emergency medical technician (EMT) level or higher and requires proper training. There are several types of manufactured tourniquets available and are preferred over makeshift (improvised) devices.
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    If part of the body has been torn or cut off, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number, then try to find the part and wrap it in sterile gauze or any clean material, such as a washcloth.
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    Arc Figure 7_3

    Many closed wounds, like bruises, do not require special medical care.

    • To care for a closed wound, you can apply an ice pack to the area to decrease bleeding beneath the skin.
    • Applying cold also can be effective in helping to control both pain and swelling.
    • Fill a plastic bag with ice and water or wrap ice in a wet cloth and apply it to the injured area for periods of about 20 minutes.


      • Place a thin barrier between the ice and bare skin.
      • Remove the ice and wait for 20 minutes before reapplying.
      • If the person is not able to tolerate a 20-minute application, apply the ice pack for periods of 10 minutes on and off.
      • Elevating the injured part may help to reduce swelling; however, do not elevate the injured part if it causes more pain.
    • Do not assume that all closed wounds are minor injuries. Take the time to find out whether more serious injuries could be present.
    • With all closed wounds, help the person to rest in the most comfortable position possible. In addition, keep the person from getting chilled or overheated.
    • It also is helpful to comfort and reassure the person.
    • Be sure that a person with an injured lower extremity does not bear weight on it until advised to do so by a medical professional.
      Arc Figure 7_3
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      Arc Figure 7_15D
      • Secure the end of the bandage in place with a turn of the bandage. Wrap the bandage around the body part until the dressing is completely covered and the bandage extends several inches beyond the dressing. Tie or tape the bandage in place.







      • Do not cover fingers or toes. By keeping these parts uncovered, you will be able to see if the bandage is too tight. If fingers or toes become cold or begin to turn pale, blue, or ashen, the bandage is too tight and should be loosened slightly.
       
      • Apply additional dressings and another bandage if blood soaks through the first  bandage. Do not remove the blood-soaked bandages and dressings. Disturbing them may disrupt the formation of a clot and restart the bleeding.
      Arc Figure 7_15D
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      To care for a minor open wound, follow these general guidelines:
      • Use a barrier between your hand and the wound. If readily available, put on disposable gloves and place a sterile dressing on the wound.
      • Apply direct pressure for a few minutes to control any bleeding.
      • Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water. If possible, irrigate an abrasion for about five minutes with clean, warm, running tap water.
      • Apply an antibiotic ointment to a minor wound if the person has no known allergies or sensitivities to the medication.
      • Cover the wound with a sterile dressing and a bandage or with an adhesive bandage to keep the wound moist and prevent drying.