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How to Bandage a Cut or Wound

These instructions will come in handy if you have an emergency and have to bandage a cut or wound.

Different types of wounds and their location on the body require different kinds of dressings and bandages. Sterile store-bought bandages are best but any clean cloth, paper products or tissue will do in and emergency. To dress a wound, you will need these items.

Image by quinn.anya via Flickr

  1. A dressing or compress such as a gauze pad, handkerchief, napkin or any other clean fabric. (Avoid cotton balls as they will stick to the wound.)
  2. Use a dressing that covers the entire area.
  3. Hold the dressing over the wound and lower it into place.
  4. Secure the dressing with bandage or tape, taking the ends around the opposite direction to encircle the area (wrist, arm, leg, and chest); fasten with pin, tape, or by tying off.
  5. The bandage securing the dressing should be snug but not tight, (if secured to tight swelling will occur.) Do not wrap the bandage completely around wounded area to prevent swelling.
  6. When bandaging a foot, leg, arm or hand, leave the fingers or toes exposed to check for swelling, change of temperature or color change, which indicates the bandage is too tight.
  7. Be especially careful not to wind too tightly when using an elastic bandage; do not use a wet gauze bandage as it will shrink as it dries and become too tight.
  8. For a finger or toe; Starting at the base of the finger or toe, wrap circular turns of the bandage around the finger or toe gradually working to the tip and back down to the base.
  9. To secure the bandage, draw the bandage diagonally across the back of the wrist or ankle, circling the wrist or ankle one or two more times, loop it around the finger or toe, and back to the wrist or ankle to tie off.
  10. Ankle or foot; circle the bandage around the ball of the foot a few times.
  11. Bring the bandage diagonally across the front of the foot and under the arch.
  12. Repeat to cover the foot and ankle. Tie off at the ankle.

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  1. Hand or wrist; Circle the bandage around the palm a few times to anchor it.
  2. Bring the bandage diagonally across the back of the hand and around the wrist, then back diagonally across the back of the hand to the palm.
  3. Repeat the figure eight and tie off at the wrist.
  4. Arm or leg; Place dressing on the wound and hold in place.
  5. Anchor the bandage by wrapping it around the limb below the wound; make spiral turns up the limb to cove the dressing.
  6. Secure the bandage above the wound, tying it off.
  7. Elbow or knee; Hold the dressing on the wound and anchor the dressing above the joint by circling the wound several times.
  8. Bring the bandage diagonally across the dressing, circle the limb below the joint, and then bring it back diagonally across the dressing.
  9. Repeat the figure eight until the area is secure, and then fasten above or below the joint.
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  1. Ruby, I never realized how many steps there were to bandaging. I just bandage. You have some very good tips here, such as what to watch out for. We would not want the wound to become more serious. Thank you, for a fine job.

  2. Very sensible, well written and most useful!

  3. Ruby, you certainly know about bandages. I had never thought of anchoring a toe bandage to the ankle, but of course it makes sense. Very clearly described, and easy to understand instructions.

  4. Thank you ladies, I appreciate your compliments.If we had kids, and now grandkids, bandaging is something we know a little about. I’m surprised my kids lived to grow up sometimes.

  5. Great article. I definitely have to remember this the next time I have a cut or have to help someone else who has a cut or wound.

  6. Great article, such useful and important tips. Good to be reminded of this all. Thanks

  7. Ruby, My kids are lucky to be alive too. It was cuts, nails stuck in feet, and broken bones. Raising kids is a heck of a job.

  8. Thanks for all the information, good for somebody like me who is all thumbs.

  9. I bandage fingers and knees but I just wrap a piece of gause around the sore spot, and tape it down. If I would do it this way my bandages would look prettier. If I have time I will try it your way. thanks for the information.

  10. Thanks to you all for stopping by and leaving your comments. It’s definitly good to apply the bandage the right way, but sometimes we don’t have time for perfection.We just have to get that bandage on a squirmy child.

  11. I would like to see a demonstration of how to put a bandage around an arm or leg to secure a dressing from slipping.

  12. great post,thanks.like your share.

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