A wound gauze is one of the simplest type of wound dressing. Medical gauze which are frequently used consist of some types, such as the impregnated—gauze covered with medications, the wrapping—the cotton, nylon, or elastic gauze used for padding or securing wounds, and the sponges—2×2 or 4×4 inch layered squares of gauze used for padding. What type of gauze to use can be determined by overlooking the wound to determine its best wound care.
Why use gauze?
Gauze has some beneficial functions for wound healing. Hence, it is one of the important components in a first aid kit. Some major functions of gauze include:
- Promotes protection to the wound from dirt, bacteria, and other external hazards.
- Maintain moist environment and let oxygen supply to get into the wound.
- To absorb blood—and promotes clotting, and other wound drainage.
- Functions as pads before a wound is bandaged.
- Reduce the risk of infection.
When to bandage?
There is a wide discussion about should or should not a wound be bandaged using gauze and other kinds of wound dressings. To determine the importance of bandaging a wound, the wound itself needs to be scrutinized.
- Minor wounds with minimum bleeding can be left opened. Small cuts or scrapes on your pinky finger, for instance, will heal itself quite soon. Hence, keeping the wound clean without bandaging should be good enough.
- Wounds located in parts of the body with high mobility are better to be bandaged, since it provides moist environment which inhibits the formation of scabs. Although scabs is a natural barrier to wounds, it may limit mobility when these wounds are located in the areas, such as knee or hands.
How to bandage wounds with gauze?
Bandaging wounds properly will promote proper and faster healing. Some required steps to bandage a wound with gauze are:
- Provide a gauze with coordinating size with or slightly larger than the wound.
- Wear sterilized gloves when opening a sterilized packet of gauze pads.
- Applying antibiotic ointment all over the pad, or simply use a medicated gauze pad is beneficial in inhibiting the possibility of wound infection.
- Make sure the pad’s thickness is suitable for the amount of wound drainage, so that it can be fully absorbed.
- Clean the wound with saline solution thoroughly.
- Put the gauze pads on the wound, making sure the pads are larger than the wounds to prevent it from getting soaked inside the wound.
- Once the pad has been attached to the wound, cover it with cotton gauze or bandage. Start by bandaging below the wound, moving upwards. Once the entire wound and gauze pads are covered, you can secure the outer gauze with medical adhesive tape, if it is not self-adhesive.
- If you need to cover a large wound on the hand or leg, use a gauze wrap with these following steps:
- Unroll an appropriate gauze wrap and place it flat.
- Hold one edge of the wrap with a thumb on the edge of the gauze pad-covered wound.
- Roll the gauze wrap around, providing two overlapping layers of wrap.
- Secure another edge of the wrap with a strip of tape or bandage clip.
- Change the bandage regularly using the steps:
- Remove the outer layer of bandage, which can be an elastic or wrap or cotton bandage.
- Carefully remove gauze pads from the wound. Do this cautiously, as sticky gauze pads which are carelessly removed might damage the wound tissue, resulting in delay of healing process.
- Clean the wound with saline solution. Avoid using peroxide or iodine as they might be too harsh for the wound tissues.
- Replace the gauze pads and re-bandage the wound properly.
- When bandaging a wound, some things need to be consider.
- Put the gauze in a proper position on the wound, making sure it is hold in place. Secure it with medical tape if needed.
- In order to provide proper absorption for the drainage, do not bandage the wound too tightly, as this also will make the gauze sticky to the wound and hard to be removed later.
- When changing gauze, inspect the wound for the signs of infection.