If you have ever gotten a small cut or scrape and put a Band-Aid® over the wound, then you are familiar with wound dressings. A wound dressing is a medical tool that is used to cover an injury. Technically, wound dressing is the sterile cotton or gauze that is applied to the wound. It is different from any tape or bands that are used to hold it in place. Since there are many medical supplies such as Band-Aids® that incorporate both dressing and bandage, they are often used interchangeably in casual language.
Wound dressing is particularly important to help ward off infection. It protects a wound from debris that could carry bacteria and cause infection. Before applying dressing to a wound, however, it is important to thoroughly clean the wound. This should help to wash away any foreign matter that entered the wound at the moment that the injury took place.
One of the most important things to remember when dressing a wound is that the materials used must be sterile. Dressings and plasters are usually packaged individually so as to keep them sterile. If you do not have a dressing on hand, use the cleanest cloth that you can find to cover the wound until you are able to obtain a sterile dressing.
It is advisable to use an antibiotic ointment or cream in addition to a wound dressing to minimize the risk of infection. Even wounds that are properly cleaned and dressed can become infected. An antibiotic ointment or cream will help to further reduce this risk.
If you are using a wound dressing such as gauze or cotton, it is important to keep it in place with a bandage. While Band-Aids® and plasters can be used for small injuries, dressings are more useful for wounds that affect large areas of the body. If, for example, you fell while riding a bicycle and scraped your entire forearm, you would probably need to have that entire area dressed with cotton or gauze and then secured with bandaging tape.
When you are dressing a wound, be sure to follow first aid guidelines. If you are not familiar with first aid guidelines, try to find someone who is. Also, if you are ever in doubt about the severity of an injury, you should make sure to consult a medical professional. A medical professional can assess the wound and decide what kind of treatment and dressing is best.