Different Dressings: Different Uses

ID-100176692If you have a family then chances are that you have a fully stocked first aid kit as well, ready for all those bumps and bruises that come along during everyday life. But these days, with so many different varieties of dressings, bandages and creams, how are you supposed to know which ones to apply to your loved ones? This guide will show you the most common types of dressings and tell you when you should use them.

Of course, different injuries require different dressings. Getting them mixed up and using the wrong kind could actually make things worse so it is worth doing your homework. A non-adhesive adaptic dressing is ideally suited to larger wounds that need protection from outside elements, while silicone gel sheets are used primarily to reduce scarring from a healing injury.


This type of dressing is the one you should choose if the wound you are treating is infected and require frequent changing. They come in a wide range of shapes and sizes and can be cut and adapted to suit your needs. Additionally, due to their relatively light composition they are quite cheap to buy and can be used on virtually any kind of injury but they must be changed regularly to prevent them from adhering to the skin and increasing the chance of further infection.


Film dressings have a unique format which allows oxygen to penetrate into the injury whilst still protecting it. Predominantly used in the treatment of burns and scalds, these dressings stick in place and won’t irritate the area further. However, they can stick in place to the point where they are hard to remove and so should not be used for larger wounds. In the case of large area of burning or scalding, you should always call for medical assistance regardless – it is always better to be safe than sorry.


Commonly used in the treatment of ulcers and lymphedema, compression bandages come in a range of sizes and strengths. Because of their structure, compression bandages can support an injury without restricting it, allowing for swelling to rise and fall without causing further injury to the patient. There are also elastic bandages which are similar in design and can help with strains and fractures that don’t require a cast or splint.


Particularly useful with injuries that are exuding or draining, when the dressing comes into contact with any fluid exuding from the wound, a gel is produced at that point, adhering the dressings to the skin and creating a moist environment. The dressing can then be left in place until the exudates becomes visible through the surface at which point it is time to change the dressing.

The most important thing to remember when treating an injury is that when in doubt; call the professionals. If you are not sure how to treat an injury or feel it is too large for you to handle effectively then call in medical help straight away.

“Image courtesy of Praisaeng / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

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