The upper limb (also upper extremity), in human anatomy, refers to the arm, starting from the shoulder and ending at the fingertips. It includes three regions:
- The arm is located between the shoulder and elbow joints.
- The forearm is located between the elbow and wrist joints.
- The hand is located distal to the wrist.
Thus, upper limb recovery pertains to treating conditions of the arm. The injuries pertaining to the upper limb are wide-ranging and we could not possibly begin to cover them in this article. For simplicity’s sake, we will be discussing injuries that can be easily treated using the Gauze Rolls or Pads found in the first aid kit in your home.
Using Gauze for Injuries
Gauze is a thin, translucent fabric that is loosely woven and flexible which makes it ideal to be used for dressing wounds. It has versatile uses, making it a staple for first-aid kits.
Gauze helps keep the injury clean while allowing ventilation, which is essential for facilitating the healing process, particularly for wounds. It is comfortable to wear for prolonged periods of time and offers protection without restricting mobility. It comes in multiple sizes in two forms: gauze rolls or pads.
The use of gauze rolls or pads would differ according to the wound assessment. Below we will discuss the diverse types of injuries that use gauze rolls or pads in the administering of first aid and treatment.
- Scrapes: Scrapes or abrasions are wounds caused by friction against a rough surface. Gauze rolls can be wrapped around the wound to protect it. One may also cover the wound with a gauze pad and secure it with medical tape. This will help keep the wound site dry and prevent infections.
- Bruises: Bruises are a discoloration of the skin caused by a hard impact that ruptures blood vessels under the skin. Bruises should be cleaned gently with gauze and if one spreads, it should be compressed to mitigate the underlying bleeding.
- Cuts: Cuts are an incision made in the skin by something sharp. They can be accidental or surgical. In both cases, gauze can be used to keep the wound site clean and dry, preventing infections.
- Burns: Burns are an injury resulting from exposure to heat through fire, electricity, caustics, radiation, etc. While gauze should not be put directly on burns, it can be used to secure a non-adhesive bandage over the wound in place.
- Stitches: Stitches are a surgical procedure used to join the edges of a wound or surgical incision with thread. Stitches are particularly prone to infections and need to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected regularly while the wound heals. A gauze is an effective tool for covering stitched wounds and keeping them free from contamination.
How To Dress your Arm Gauze Rolls or Pads?
The method of dressing a wound with gauze rolls or pads is the same for all along the arm except for wrapping the hand/wrist. Below we will demonstrate the method of wrapping the arm and hand:
Dressing Arm Wounds with Gauze Pads
Step 1: Clean the wound with some gauze and disinfect it. Place a fresh gauze pad over it, covering it completely. If the wound is too long to be covered by a singular pad, using a gauze roll might be a better option. Secure with medical tape.
Dressing Arm Wounds with Gauze Rolls
- For an arm injury, clean and disinfect the wound and wrap around the bandage in a spiral motion along the arm until the wound is completely covered and secure with tape, clip fasteners, or by tying a knot. Ensure the amount of compression is safe.
- For injuries on the hand/wrist, wrapping in the same way as the rest of the arm is not advised since the area has a much larger range of motion, contributing to a higher chance of the dressing being undone. After cleaning the wound, follow these steps:
Step 1: Put the loose end of the bandage on the inside of the wrist, right below the thumb. Wrap the bandage in a circular motion around the wrist (circling outwards), twice.
Step 2: Wrap the bandage from below the thumb, diagonally across the back of the hand up to the top outer side of the little finger. Then move the bandage across the front of the inside of the fingers towards the back of the hand.
Step 3: Move the bandage diagonally back to the bottom of the thumb from the outside. Then wrap under it.
Step 4: Repeat wrapping in this figure of eight patterns, gradually moving forwards, until only the fingertips are visible.
Step 5: After fully covering the hand, wrap the bandage around the wrist again and secure the end. Check the amount of compression on the hand, making sure circulation is not inhibited.
With care proper cleaning and dressing, the rate of healing for injuries increases greatly and risks of contamination and infections considerably decrease, making this one of the most important steps of medical care. It is important for the general public to be informed about these processes so they are more equipped to care for themselves should the need arise.