August 18, 2023

Where Do You Apply a Pressure Dressing?

When a traumatic wound is bleeding, the first thing you must do is stabilize the casualty. You must call out for help, or you might need to get them to the emergency room yourself. The next step is to apply direct pressure. The best way to do that is with a pressure dressing.

A pressure dressing is a nonadherent bandage that covers a wound and has an absorbent layer. It may or may not be held in place with an adhesive.

The aim of a pressure dressing is to compress dead space and prevent hematoma and seroma formation, both of which can cause significant complications. It is also believed to improve hemostasis and decrease re-bleeding.

To create a pressure dressing, start by cleaning the wound thoroughly. Then, cover the wound with a wad of absorbent padding such as rolled cotton or a handkerchief. Then wrap a support bandage around the pad and tie it with a nonslip knot. The bandage should be tight enough to prevent slippage but not so tight that it stops blood flow. The bandage should extend a few inches above and below the wound.

Do not remove or reposition the field dressing. It is important to keep it in place because moving it might disturb any blood clots that are forming to stop the bleeding. If you are using an improvised pad such as a muslin bandage from your combat lifesaver aid bag or strips of cloth torn from a T-shirt or sock, make sure the end is secured with a nonslip knot and extend a few inches above and below the wounded area.

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