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How to make a wound dressing at home

Before dressing a simple wound, such as a small cut on your finger, it is important to wash your hands and, if possible, put on clean gloves to avoid contaminating the wound.

Main types of dressings

Generally, to make the dressing it is important to have some materials at home, such as saline, povidone-iodine, band-aid and bandages, for example. See  what a first aid kit should contain .

1. Simple dressing for cuts

Thus, to make a simple dressing of a cut, quickly and correctly, you must:

  1. Wash the wound with cold running water and mild soap or saline;
  2. Dry the wound with dry gauze or a clean cloth;
  3. Cover the wound with dry gauze and secure it with a bandage,  band-aid or ready dressing, which is sold in pharmacies.

If the wound is large or very dirty, after washing, it is advisable to apply an antiseptic product, such as povidone-iodine, for example. However, this type of substance should only be used until a cone is formed, since after that moment the wound is closed and there is no risk of developing bacteria.

Antiseptic products should not be the first choice to clean simple wounds, giving preference to water or saline. However, such products, such as Merthiolate or Povidine, can be indicated when there is a high risk of the wound becoming infected.

The dressing should be changed up to a maximum of 48 hours, whenever it is dirty or according to a nurse’s recommendation. 

In severe cases, such as deep cuts or when the wound bleeds a lot, the same thing must be done, however, then it is recommended to go immediately to the emergency room or hospital, as the person needs to be evaluated by the doctor, and may even need to take stitches or put staples.

2. Healing for eschar

The dressing for bedsores should always be done by a nurse, but if the dressing comes off at night or gets wet during the bath, you should:

  1. Wash the wound with cold tap water or saline, not touching the wound with your hands;
  2. Dry the wound with dry gauze without pressing or scraping;
  3. Cover the wound with another dry gauze and secure the gauze with tape;
  4. Position the person on the bed without pressing the eschar;
  5. Call the nurse and inform that the eschar dressing has come out.

Dressings for bedsores should always be made with gauze and sterile dressings to prevent infections, as it is a very sensitive wound.

It is very important that the dressing is redone by a nurse, because in most cases, the dressing also includes the use of ointments or materials that help with healing, in addition to gauze or tape. An example is collagenase ointment, which helps to remove dead tissue, allowing the new to grow in a healthy way.

See examples of the main ointments used in the treatment of bed sores .

3. Dressing for burn

When a person has a burn with hot water, frying oil or stove flame, for example, the skin becomes red and sore, and it may be necessary to make a dressing. Thus, one must:

  1. By running cold water for more than 5 minutes to cool the wound;
  2. Apply moisturizing cream with a refreshing and calming effect, such as Nebacetin or Caladryl, or a cortisone-based cream, such as Diprogenta or Dermazine, which can be purchased at the pharmacy;
  3. Cover with gauze  cleans the burn and secure with a bandage.

If the burn has blisters and the pain is very severe, you should go to the emergency room, as you may need to take analgesics through the vein like Tramadol, for example, to relieve the pain. Learn more about this type of dressing .

When to go to the doctor

Most wounds that happen at home can be treated without going to the hospital, however if the wound takes too long to start to heal or if signs of infection such as severe pain, severe redness, swelling, pus outflow or fever appear above 38º C, it is recommended to go to the emergency room to assess the wound and start the appropriate treatment.

In addition, wounds with a higher risk of infection, such as those caused by animal bites or objects with rust, for example, should always be evaluated by a doctor or nurse.

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