Accidents can happen anytime, and a bloody wound needs to be stabilized, preferably with a compressed gauze pad (NAR) to keep it from bleeding profusely. Wound care is a very important emergency skill that needs to be learned by everyone. If you’ve assessed the wound, you may have time yet to do other things before sealing it with compression dressing.
Proper Handwashing and Aseptic Techniques
As with any type of procedure, try to maintain aseptic techniques. The success of your emergency care also depends on the cleanliness of your hands and the whole procedure. If you have time, handwashing is the best way to reduce pathogens on your hands and arms. If not, then a quick rub with 70% ethyl alcohol will do just as fine. After that, quickly don a pay of powder-free latex gloves. The purpose of the gloves is to protect you, the care provider, from being infected with any blood-borne diseases.
Inspect the Wound First
A quick visual assessment of the wound is crucial to determine the steps you need to do. If there’s not clear light available, you can use a Head Lamp / Head Light (small) that attaches easily to your head. This will allow you maximum lighting to help you visualize the wound and see if there are any debris or objects that need to be removed. It will also show you if there’s active bleeding. Avoid breaking up clotted blood as an active bleeder might be under it.
Sterility is a Must with Any Wound
If the bleeding is now under control with a temporary tourniquet, you can now clean the wound. How a wound is treated initially will have an impact on its healing in the long run. If the bleeding is under control, wash the wound first with room temperature saline solution. If that’s not available, clean tap water or bottled water will do. Clean the edges with Ethyl Alcohol 70%, gallon which is enough to strip that area of any impurities and pathogens.
For the open cut, the clean tap water or bottled wash is enough. The important thing is to remove the as much foreign object and debris as you can without causing more bleeding. Avoid betadine or alcohol in the open wound itself to avoid any irritation of the healthy tissues. If the wound is too dirty, then a betadine wash can be used and then the wound has to be flushed a few times with water to remove irritants.
Covering the Wound
Once you’ve cleaned the wound, you can now cover it. The purpose of the cover is to keep pathogens out and to prevent the wound from being disturbed to avoid bleeding. In some cases, it’s to control the bleeding. A gauze S-rolled (NAR) can be used in conjunction with a compression gauze to help secure the wound.
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