What Are the Different Types of Dressings Used in a First Aid Kit?

What Are the Different Types of Dressings Used in a First Aid Kit?
All first aid kits used in the outdoors should have several different kinds of dressings for wounds such as abrasions, burns and cuts, and for wrapping sprains or creating slings. Each first aid kit for the outdoors enthusiast should contain at least eight main kinds of dressings though storing more in a first aid kit is always an option.

For Minor Wounds

Besides Band-Aids, each basic back country first aid kit should have six, 1-inch adhesive bandages for minor wounds as well as three butterfly bandages--known as Steristrips--of various sizes to close minor lacerations. Most of the time these are the only things in the first aid kit, besides perhaps the Tylenol, that need to be used. If you use one of the dressings, you should replace it as soon as you get back home. These dressings can be purchased at any drug store or large supermarket. Much of the time, these types of dressings are used along with an antibiotic ointment to help heal the wound and keep it from getting infected.

For Larger Wounds

Sometimes someone on an outing may require larger or thicker dressings for a more severe wound, such as a deep cut. Each first aid kit should be stocked with four 4-by-4-inch sterile gauze pads, one 4-by-4-inch Carlisle dressing to absorb severe bleeding, and two 4-by 4-inch nonstick dressings for abrasions or burns. These dressings also can be purchased at any most drug stores and large supermarkets and should be replaced if someone has had to use one on an outing. Often, these types of absorbent dressings must be used with wrap dressings so that they are held in place and the wound is kept clean and protected while healing.


These types of dressings are very important not only for helping to hold absorbent pads in place but also in the case of internal injuries such as sprains or strains. First aid kits should be equipped with two rolls (2-inch by 5 yards) of self-adhering bandages for holding dressings in place, one 2-inch-wide elastic bandage for wrapping sprains or compressing injured areas, a roll of 2-inch wide athletic tape to hold dressings closed, and two triangular bandages, 36 inches by 36 inches by 52 inches for making slings or cravats. The athletic tape is also of use for many other things, from taping a dislocated or sprained finger to protecting a hot spot on your heel from becoming a blister.

Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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