In a post-apocalyptic scenario, professional medical care is not readily available. You have to do everything by yourself. How do we handle a major or minor injury? How often should wound dressings be changed? These are just some of the questions you have to ask yourself in that particular situation. Your knowledge of some basic medical practices will also help you in your everyday life.
Keeping abreast of basic first aid will help in your survival. You do not have to know sophisticated application techniques and wound dressing. Even knowing things like how often should wound dressings be changed will give you an upper hand in case of an emergency.
Kinds of Dressing
Your wound assessment will help determine the right kind of dressing you need. Choosing the proper dressing plays a crucial role in the rapid healing of your injuries. Is the wound moist or dry? Could it be infected? These are relevant questions that you have to answer before dressing your wound.
Gauze consists of nonwoven and woven forms. It also contains products such as antimicrobials, iodides, and petrolatum. You can use this as a primary dressing for partial and full-thickness wounds and even I.V. sites. You cannot use a gauze solely to combat infection, but it plays an assistive role in the treatment for wound infection.
Gauze may be used on necrotic wounds, draining wounds, incisions, burns, and pressure ulcers. It is available in many sizes and forms and may be combined with other topical products.
A transparent film is made of polyurethane or copolymer. This kind of dressing is a porous adhesive that allows oxygen to pass through the wound and let the moisture vapor escape. This may be applied to Stage I and II pressure ulcers, partial-thickness wounds, and superficial burns. You do not have to remove the film to see through it if you want to examine your injuries.
The only downside to using transparent film is that the dressing may stick to the wound. Moreover, they don’t absorb moisture and are not primarily indicated for wound draining.
A foam is considered an absorptive dressing that has hydrophilic polyurethane or also known as a film-coated gel. It is nonocclusive and non-adherent. The indications include partial and full-thickness wounds with heavy to minimal drainage, dermal ulcers, and under compression wraps. This may also apply to Stages II to IV pressure ulcers.
Foams come in many shapes, sizes and forms. However, you have to prepare a secondary dressing or tape to secure the first foam dressings. You may look for newer versions that already have adhesive borders to keep everything in place. Foam, in general, is not recommended for dry eschar or nondraining wounds.
Composites are combinations of several various products and are often manufactured as a single dressing. The features of which may include hydrogel, foam, absorptive layer, hydrocolloid, and a bacterial barrier. Additionally, the dressing may either have non-adherent or semi-adherent properties.
These may be used as primary and secondary dressings for full and partial thickness wounds. Also, its indications include dermal ulcers, surgical incisions, and minimally to heavily draining wounds. Composites are easy to apply and remove since most of them have adhesive borders. However, some composites are contraindicated for Stage IV Pressure Ulcers.
How Often Should Wound Dressings Be Changed?
This will heavily depend on the amount of fluid leaking from your wound. You can even leave some dressings in its place for a week. If the injury has a slight odor, then that would call for the replacement of the dressing.
You would know when your dressing needs to be changed when the dark area in the center gets closer to the edge of the dressing pad. Note that the dark area is the fluid coming from your wound. If you try to touch it, it is usually dry. If the dark area almost covers the whole dressing, then you have to replace it immediately.
Do Wounds Need Cleaning When the Dressing is Changed?
At this point, you may clean only wounds with excess fluid and dead tissue when you change the dressing. On some occasions, the dressing may stick to the injury, and it is also advisable that you soak that off. Wound with healthy tissue or new skin does not need to be cleaned every dressing change. Cleaning it may remove the necessary nutrients and growth factors you need for healing. However, you may clean the surrounding skin.
Tips For Faster Wound Healing
Rest and exercise
Have a balance of both for rapid wound healing. Even just regular walking encourages the blood flow to your wound. Also, resting with the arm or leg up will reduce the swelling in the wounded area.
Make sure that you have an ample amount of painkillers in your survival kit. This will help you endure the pain caused by the wound.
Include vegetables and fruits in your meals to help your tissues regenerate faster. You must also incorporate protein on your diets such as cheese, nuts, eggs, fish, and meat.
Remember not to touch the wound with your bare hands, especially during dressing. Your hands may contain bacteria that will slow down the healing of your wound. These may even infect your supposedly healing wounds.
It is easy to know how often should wound dressings be changed. The challenge here is how to apply the correct dressing to the wound. If you are not a medical practitioner or if you have limited supplies, you have to make do with what you have. Just keep in mind that the dressing you should use depends on the size, location, and moisture of the wound itself. There are several self-help videos on the internet that you can watch and more articles that you can read. As a prepper, knowing more is always better. Know more about first aid.