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Encyclopedia > Medical dressings

A dressing is an adjunct used by a person for application to a wound in order to promote healing and/or prevent further harm. A dressing is designed to be in direct contact with the wound, which makes it different to a bandage, which is primarily used to hold a dressing in place. Some organisations classify them as the same thing (for example, the British Pharmacopoeia) and the terms are used interchangeably by some people. Dressings are frequently used in first aid and nursing Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Superficial bullet wounds In medicine, a wound is a type of physical trauma wherein the skin is torn, cut or punctured (an open wound), or where blunt force trauma causes a contusion (a closed wound). ... Bandages are also used for martial arts. ... First aid is a series of simple, life-saving medical techniques that a non-doctor or layman can be trained to perform. ... Nursing is a profession focused on assisting individuals, families, and communities in attaining, re-attaining, and maintaining optimal health and functioning. ...

Contents

Core purposes of a dressing

A dressing can have a number of purposes, depending on the type, severity and position of the wound, although all purposes are focused towards promoting recovery and preventing further harm from the wound. Key purposes of are dressing are:

  • Stem bleeding - Helps to seal the wound to expedite the clotting process
  • Absorb exudate - Soak up blood, plasma and other fluids exuded from the wound, containing it in one place
  • Ease pain - Some dressings may have a pain relieving effect, and others may have a placebo effect
  • Debride the wound - The removal of slough and foreign objects from the wound
  • Protection from infection and mechanical damage, and
  • Promote healing - through granulation and epithelialisation

Blood from a finger Bleeding is the loss of blood from the body. ... Coagulation is the thickening or congealing of any liquid into solid clots. ... An exudate is any thick fluid that is actively secreted by cells as a result of disease. ... Look up Pain in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... “Placebo effect” redirects here. ... Debridement is a medical term referring to the removal of dead, damaged, or infected tissue to improve the healing potential of the remaining healthy tissue. ... An infection is the detrimental colonization of a host organism by a foreign species. ... Healing is the process whereby the cells in the body regenerate and repair to reduce the size of a damaged or necrotic area. ... Granulation tissue is the tissue that replaces a fibrin clot in healing tissue. ...

Types of dressing

Historically, a dressing was usually a piece of material, sometimes cloth, but the use of cobwebs, dung, leaves and honey have also been described. However, modern dressings [1] include gauzes (which may be impregnated with an agent designed to help sterility or to speed healing), films, gels, foams, hydrocolloids, alginates, hydrogels and polysaccharide pastes, granules and beads. Dressings can be impregnated with antiseptic chemicals, as in boracic lint. It has been suggested that Textile be merged into this article or section. ...


Medicinal Castor oil was used in the first surgical dressings [2] Castor oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the castor bean (technically castor seed as the castor plant, Ricinus communis, is not a member of the bean family). ...


In the 1960s, George Winter published his controversial research on moist healing. Previously, the accepted wisdom was that in order to prevent infection of a wound, the wound should be kept as dry as possible. Winter demonstrated that wounds which were kept moist healed faster than those which were left exposed to the air or covered with traditional dressings.


Ideally, dressings should:

  • Control the moisture content, so that the wound stays moist;
  • Protect the wound from infection;
  • Remove slough;
  • Maintain the optimum pH and temperature to encourage healing;

Usage of dressings

Applying a dressing is a first aid skill, although many people undertake the practice with no training - especially on minor wounds. Modern dressings will almost all come in a prepackaged sterile wrapping, date coded to ensure sterility, this is due to the fact that it will come in to direct contact with the wound, and sterility is required in order to fulfil the 'Protection from infection' aim of a dressing. First aid is a series of simple, life-saving medical techniques that a non-doctor or layman can be trained to perform. ... Sterilization (or sterilisation) is the elimination of all transmissible agents (such as bacteria, prions and viruses) from a surface, a piece of equipment, food or biological culture medium. ...


Historically, and still the case in many less developed areas and in an emergency, dressings are often improvised as needed. This can consist of anything, including clothing or spare material, which will fulfil some of the basic tenets of a dressing - usually stemming bleeding and absorbing exudate.


Applying and changing dressings is one common task in nursing. Nursing is a profession focused on assisting individuals, families, and communities in attaining, re-attaining, and maintaining optimal health and functioning. ...


An "ideal" wound dressing is one that is sterile, breathable, and encourages a moist healing environment. This will then reduce the risk of infection, help the wound heal more quickly, and reduce scarring.


References

  1. ^ www.dressings.org. SMTL. Retrieved on 2007-02-24.
  2. ^ Report upon the Use of a Mixture of Castor oil and Balsam of Peru as a Surgical Dressing. pubmedcentral. Retrieved on 2007-01-26.

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