5 Types Of Wound Dressings & Bandages And When To Use Them

First Aid in an Emergency – Assessment and Response Guide

8 min. read
Show More

Accidents are inevitable. They can happen to us or to anyone around us. It is quite likely that we all will find ourselves at the scene of an accident at some point in our lives. In such situations, having basic first aid knowledge becomes crucial.

First aid is the first response and treatment given to an injured person in the case of an emergency. The aim is to contain the situation until medical help arrives. It empowers you with the knowledge to handle and respond to a medical emergency. There are three aims to emergency first aid -

  • To preserve life
  • To prevent the occurrence of further injuries
  • To promote faster recovery

Here are some basic emergency situations where first aid can be required:


Wounds and cuts:

Knowing how to treat wounds and cuts is the most basic aspect of first aid that everybody should know. This is especially relevant if you live with kids, who tend to hurt themselves more often than adults. Here is a quick rundown on how to treat minor as well as major injuries at home with first aid techniques.

Minor cuts:

Minor cuts are quite hassle-free to treat. Whether it’s a scraped knee or a cut on your finger, it can easily be treated by first washing the wound and then applying a small plaster to keep the area covered. This will prevent bacteria from entering the cut. Follow these quick fix wound treatment steps:

  • Wash your hands with soap before touching the cut
  • Clean the cut gently under running water 
  • Use a clean cloth or gauze to apply pressure until the bleeding stops
  • Apply some petroleum jelly or an antibiotic ointment 
  • Cover the cut with a plaster

If the cut has occurred due to a dirty or rusty object, check when the last tetanus injection was received, and get a booster shot if necessary 


Minor cuts can be treated easily at home but for larger wounds, medical intervention might be required. Here’s how to identify a major cut:

  • Minor cuts only scratch the surface of your skin whereas major cuts are wider and deeper, they might even reach the bone
  • Cuts that don’t stop bleeding even after pressure is applied are major cuts
  • If the cut has jagged edges or the skin is gaping open
  • If dirt, debris or glass pieces are stuck in the wound
  • If the wound is showing signs of infection, i.e., redness, swelling, and pus

Animal bites or cuts from rusty objects are also matters of concern, you may need to get a tetanus shot for them. If you think that your cut is severe and requires stitches, follow these emergency wound care steps: 

  • First, apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or gauze to stop the bleeding
  • Clean the wound under running water
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment over the cut
  • Cover the wound with appropriate wound dressing

Once the wound is patched up, you can get to the doctor who will assess the wound and recommend stitches if needed.

Sprains

Sprains are one of the most common injuries that occur when you twist your joints in an awkward way and your ligaments get stretched beyond their limit. In severe sprains, the ligament stretches till it tears and the sprain takes much longer to heal. 

 

You can sprain your wrist, knees or thumb but the most commonly dealt with sprains are ankle sprains. Ankle sprains usually happen when you land wrong on your feet after a misstep, a fall, or while playing sports. Mild sprains can be taken care of by some at home first aid but for severe sprains, you will need to consult your doctor. Here is the immediate emergency first aid procedure to be followed when you sprain a body part, it is referred to as RICE:

Rest: 

Get adequate rest so that the injured portion can recover. Especially for knee or ankle sprains, try to keep your weight off your feet for a few days. Use a crutch if required.

Ice: 

Ice the injured area with an ice pack to contain the swelling. Do this every 2 hours for 15-20 minutes for the initial two days. 

Compress:

Compress the area using a compression bandage. This will help reduce the swelling and provide stability to the injured limb.

Elevate:

Keep the injured area elevated at a level above your heart whenever possible. This will help to reduce swelling by preventing the accumulation of fluid in the joint. If you’ve sprained your ankle, you can use some pillows to prop your feet up when you lie down.

If the pain does not get better after a few days, consult a doctor. If you suspect your sprain is severe, it is best to seek immediate medical attention. Delayed treatment could lead to chronic pain in severe cases.



Fractures:

Sometimes an accident or a bad fall will result in a complete or partial tear in the bone, this is termed as a fracture. They are quite serious injuries and need to be dealt with with care. If you witness an accident where it seems like the victim has fractured their bone, here are the steps to follow while you wait for medical help to arrive:

  • Do not move the injured person unless absolutely necessary
  • Loosen any tight clothing around the suspected fracture
  • If there is any bleeding, apply pressure on the wound with a clean cloth or gauze to stop it
  • If you have access to an ice pack, apply it to reduce the swelling and numb the pain

There are 3 treatment options for fractures depending on the severity of the fracture. They are:

  1. Casts: A cast is used to immobilize the limb and provide support while it heals. You might need to keep it on for a few months until the bone has realigned correctly.
  2. Internal fixation: This method is for more severe fractures and requires surgery. Usually, screws, plates or metal rods are used to keep the bones in place internally, under the skin. They may be removed after the fracture is healed or kept in place depending on the fracture.
  3. External fixation: This method also requires surgery but the fixation device is placed on the outside of the limb instead of internally. This is usually used in cases where the fracture is complex and not easy to cast or fix internally.

Burn treatment:

Burns are quite common kitchen injuries that most of us deal with at some point. Minor burns may sting a lot but they can be treated simply with some at-home first aid procedures.

  • Remove any tight clothing or jewellery (such as rings) from around the area
  • Run the burnt area under cool water, you can use a wet compress as well, but do not apply ice directly on a burn
  • Once the burn has cooled off, apply a cooling lotion to keep the skin moisturized
  • Cover the burn with a bandage to keep it protected, but don’t wrap it too tight
  • If blisters start to form around your burn, do not pop them, allow them to heal on their own

In case of severe burns, you will need immediate medical attention. Skin grafts may be required to replace damaged skin. Physical and mental therapy is also a part of the treatment process in severe cases.

First Aid Kit List

A vital part of first aid and emergency care is having a well-stocked first aid kit with all the supplies needed to provide emergency first aid. This kit should have different types of wound dressings in different sizes and other emergency supplies. Here is a list of items to check off on for your first aid kit:

  • Wound plasters

  • Sterile gauze 

  • Disinfect

  • Cotton Swabs

  • Fixation Tape

  • Painkillers

  • Antiseptic cream

  • Digital Thermometer

  • Scissors

  • Tweezers

  • Disposable Gloves

  • Safety Pins

With a well-stocked first aid kit, you will be prepared for any emergency situation that arises. Being able to provide emergency first aid by yourself will make you independent and empowered. But remember, this is just a general overview of a few of the many first aid procedures that there are. To get proper information on first aid and emergency care, you should consider taking an in-person course. It is part of the general knowledge that everybody should know to stay well-informed and protected.

Read More Here: A Multi-Purpose Pain Relief That You Need In Your Life- Crepe Bandage

 

Disclaimer

Please note that the above recommendations are general care tips. Consult a health care professional in case of any uncertainty around wound treatment and healing.

Always see your doctor if a wound is deep, bleeding profusely or shows signs of infection. For diabetic patients especially, proper wound care holds the utmost importance. Do not hesitate to discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor or your podiatrist, even when it comes to minor wounds and cuts – especially if they’re on your feet.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Although compiled with great care, it is not a substitute for professional advice. If you have or suspect a health problem, consult your doctor immediately. 

For further information regarding Hansaplast products, please contact us via email at customer.care@bdfindia.com.