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A pressure bandage is a form of bandage that is intended to compress a wound in order to prevent excessive blood loss. Ideally, the bandage is able to stop or slow bleeding enough that normal blood clotting is allowed to occur. Such bandages are commonly used in situations in which first aid is necessary to preserve one's health, or even one's life, before professional help arrives. A pressure bandage is generally placed over gauze which can soak up blood and apply further pressure to the wound. These bandages are particularly useful when an individual sustains a wound to one of his limbs as the bandage can easily be wrapped around the limb.
One may apply a pressure bandage to a variety of different kinds of wounds that cause bleeding. Small bandages, for example, can quickly stop bleeding from small cuts and other minor wounds, especially on fingers, toes, and other hard-to-bandage areas. After the bleeding has stopped, they protect the wounded area from exposure to the outside, which could lead to renewed bleeding or infection. Larger bandages used in conjunction with gauze are effective in dealing with larger, more severe wounds. They also serve the twofold role of stopping the bleeding and protecting the wound until it can be cleaned properly.
Learning to apply a pressure bandage is important to those wishing to develop first aid skills. One must often respond quickly in order to stop bleeding before excessive blood loss is able to cause severe problems, such as decreased blood pressure or volume. To apply a pressure bandage, first attempt to control the bleeding by placing pressure on a clump of gauze on the wound. Next, wrap the wound and the gauze with a bandage. It is acceptable to use a generous amount of bandage in order to apply sufficient pressure and to hold the gauze in place.
During the application of the pressure bandage, it can sometimes be helpful for the wounded individual to hold the gauze in place while another person wraps the wound with the bandage. After the bandage has been applied, the wounded person should, if possible, elevate the wound above his heart in order to reduce blood flow to that area. Constant pressure should be applied to the wounded area during this time to ensure the bleeding is stopped. After applying a pressure bandage, it is important to get medical help immediately to prevent further complications and to properly clean the wound.