How to bandage scrapes

Scrapes should be covered for only a day or two. By that time a scab has usually formed. A scab is nature’s bandage; it seals the wound while allowing air to reach it.

Elbow and knee scrapes are best bandaged with a gauze pad loosely held in place with two strips of adhesive tape so that the joint can bend freely. Gauze may stick to an oozing abrasion. To remove gauze, soak the area in clean water for a few minutes until the gauze can be pulled away easily. Then gently pat the area dry. Sprains and jammed fingers Bandaging is also used to relieve the pain of minor joint injuries, such as twists, sprains, and jammed fingers. Once the doctor assures you that the injury isn’t serious, provide a wrapping of gauze to support the joint and to remind the person not to move it. Or use an elastic wrapping bandage, following your doctor’s directions or those on the package.

Support a jammed finger, sometimes called a baseball finger, with a tongue depressor held in place by a 11/2-inch-wide gauze strip wrapped crisscross around the finger and secured by a wrap and tie at the wrist.

Complex bandaging, such as swathing the head, requires experience. It is better left to professionals.