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How Do I Bandage a Hand?

Alex Tree
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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To bandage a hand, put on medical gloves, clean and prepare the wound, and then wrap the bandage around the injured hand. Wearing gloves is important to not only protect the person’s wound, but to protect yourself from diseases the person might unknowingly have. Cleaning and preparing the wound is essential to preventing infection and applying a comfortable bandage. Then comes actually bandaging the wound by making a figure eight around the hand with the bandage. You may need to apply gauze to the cut and between the fingers to prevent moisture from gathering, depending on the situation.

Before you bandage a hand, wash your hands thoroughly and dry them on a clean towel. Put on medical gloves, or, if you have none, another type of clean glove. If you have no gloves at all, use clean plastic bags or cloth to protect yourself from the other person’s blood and to prevent further dirtying his or her wound. To bandage a hand in an emergency situation with little supplies around you, any other clean or relatively clean material can be used. Apply pressure to the wound for 15 minutes without lifting up the cloth, making sure to time yourself using a clock and avoid pushing objects further into the wound.

The next step to bandage a hand is to clean the wound and remove clothing or jewelry that could restrict swelling or get in the way. If the wound is severe, you may have to cut away clothing instead of pulling at it. You can use tweezers to remove debris, but do not push the tweezers into the wound. Run the hand under the kitchen sink tap or other source of clean water and scrub it very gently with cloth and a mild soap. Scrubbing too hard damages the wound further and increases the person’s chances of getting an infection.

At this point, the wound has stopped bleeding, has no debris or objects inside it, and is clean. Lightly apply an antibiotic oil to the cut to keep the bandage from sticking and then wrap the bandage around the wrist twice. Bring the bandage around to the back of the hand and wrap it diagonally across so that it passes the base of the pinky finger. Then continue to wrap the bandage around all fingers except for the thumb. Lastly, from the thumb, wrap the bandage diagonally across the palm of the hand back toward the wrist to complete the figure eight and then repeat.

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Alex Tree
By Alex Tree
Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and The Health Board contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.
Discussion Comments
By donasmrs — On May 18, 2014

My mom is a nurse and one of the first things she thought me about health and first aid was to bandage a hand. I learned that first, I need to apply pressure with a clean cotton ball over a cut or injury to stop the bleeding. Then the cut needs to be cleaned and covered with bandage.

She also taught me a great tip when bandaging a hand with gauze bandage. After wrapping the hand in a figure eight, I cut a slit vertically through the gauze to split the end into two. Then I bring the two pieces around the wrist and tie it. This resolves the need for tape to keep the bandage together.

By fBoyle — On May 18, 2014

@burcinc-- I'm not a doctor but I know that there are non-stick bandages at the pharmacy. You may want to apply a non-stick bandage underneath the gauze that you use to wrap it.

Applying some antibiotic ointment on the wound before applying gauze or cotton can also prevent it from sticking. The reason that the gauze sticks to the wound is because of dry blood. Antibiotic ointment will keep the wound moist and it can also prevent infection.

If you have a deep cut or if you are unable to bandage it yourself, you should visit the hospital and get help from a nurse or doctor.

By burcinc — On May 17, 2014

What can I do to prevent the bandage from sticking to the wound? I bandaged my hand yesterday and today, I wanted to change the bandage. But it was stuck on the wound and it was very painful to remove. It ended up causing more bleeding. I don't want this to happen again. What should I do?

Alex Tree
Alex Tree
Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and The Health Board contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.
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