Bandages are strips of calico, linen, flannel, muslin, elastic webbing, bunting, or some other substance, of various lengths, and from one to six inches wide, free from hems or darns, soft and unglazed. They are better after they have been washed. Their uses are to retain dressings, apparatus, or parts of the body in their proper positions, support the soft parts, and maintain equal pressure.
812. Bandages are simple and Compound; the former are simple slips rolled up tightly like a roll of ribbon. There is also another simple kind, which is rolled from both ends--this is called a double-headed bandage. The compound bandages are formed of many pieces.
813. Bandages for the Head should be two inches wide and five yards long; for the neck, two inches wide, and three yards long; for the arm, two inches wide, and seven yards long; for the leg, two inches and a half wide and seven yards long; for the thigh three inches wide, and eight yards long; and for the body, four or six inches wide and ten or twelve yards long.
814. To Apply a Single-Headed Bandage, lay the outside of the end next to the part to be bandaged, and hold the roll between the little, ring and middle fingers, and the palm of the left hand, using the thumb and forefinger of the same hand to guide it, and the right hand to keep it firm, and pass the bandage partly round the leg towards the left hand. It is sometimes necessary to reverse this order, and therefore it is well to be able to use both hands. Particular parts require a different method of applying bandages, and therefore it is necessary to describe the most useful separately; and there are different ways of putting on the same bandage, which consist in the manner the folds or turns are made. For example, the circular bandage is formed by horizontal turns, each of which overlaps the one made before it; the spiral consists of spiral turns; the oblique follows a course oblique or slanting to the centre of the limb; and the recurrent folds back again to the part whence it started.
815. Circular Bandages are used for the neck, to retain dressings on any part of it, or for blisters, setons, &c.; for the head, to keep dressings on the forehead or any part contained within a circle passing round the head; for the arm, previous to bleeding; for the leg, above the knee; and for the fingers, &c.
816. To Confine the Ends of Bandages some persons use pins, others slit the end for a short distance, and tie the two strips into a knot, and some use a strip of adhesive plaster. Always place the point of a pin in such a position that it cannot prick the patient, or the person dressing the limb, or be liable to be drawn out by using the limb; therefore, as a general rule, turn the head of the pin from the free end of the bandage, or towards the upper part of the limb. The best mode is to sew the bandage on. A few stitches will hold it more securely than pins can.
817. The Oblique Bandage is generally used for arms and legs, and to retain dressings.
818. The Spiral Bandage is generally applied to the trunk and extremities, but is apt to fall off even when very carefully applied; therefore the recurrent bandage, which folds back again, is generally used.
819. The Recurrent Bandage is the best kind of bandage that we can employ for general purposes. The method of putting it on the leg is as follows:- Apply the end of the bandage that is free, with the outside of it next the skin, and hold this end with the finger and thumb of the left hand, while some one supports the heel of the patient; then with the right hand pass the bandage over the piece you are holding, and keep it crossed thus, until you can place your right forefinger upon the spot where it crosses the other bandage, where it must be kept firm. Now hold the roll of the bandage in your left hand, with the palm upwards, and taking care to keep that part of the bandage between your right forefinger, and the roll in your left hand, quite slack; turn your left hand over, and bring the bandage down upon the leg; then pass the roll under the leg towards your right hand, and repeat this until the leg is bandaged up to the knee, taking care not to drag the bandage at any time during the process of bandaging. When you arrive at the knee, pass the bandage round the leg in circles just below the knee, and pin it as usual. Bandaging is very easy, and if you once see any one apply a bandage properly, and attend to these rules, there will not be any difficulty; but bear one thing in mind, without which you will never put on a bandage even decently; and that is, never to drag or pull at a bandage, but make the turns while it is slack, and you have your right forefinger placed upon the point where it is to be folded down. When a limb is properly bandaged, the folds should run in a line corresponding to the shin-bone. Use, to retain dressings, and for varicose veins.
820. A Bandage for the Chest is always placed upon the patient in a sitting posture; and it may be put on in circles, or spirally. Use, in fractures of the ribs, to retain dressings, and after severe contusions.
821. A Bandage for the Belly is placed on the patient as directed for the chest, carrying it spirally from above downwards. Use, to compress the belly after dropsy, or retain dressings.
822. The Hand is Bandaged by crossing the bandage over the back of the hand. Use, to retain dressings.
823. For the Head, a bandage may be circular, spiral, or both; in the latter case, commence by placing one circular turn just over the ears; then bring down from left to right, and round the head again, so as to alternate a spiral with a circular turn. Use, to retain dressings on the head or over the eye; but this form soon gets slack. The circular bandage is the best, crossing it over both eyes.
824. For the Foot.--Place the end just above the outer ankle, and make two circular turns, to prevent its slipping; then bring it down from the inside of the foot over the instep towards the outer part; pass it under the sole of the foot, and upwards and inwards over the instep towards the inner ankle, then round the ankle and repeat again. Use, to retain dressings to the instep, heel, or ankle.
825. For the Leg and Foot, commence and proceed as directed in the preceding paragraph; then continue it up the leg as ordered in the Recurrent Bandage.
826. As it sometimes happens that it is necessary to apply a bandage at once, and the materials are not at hand, it is desirable to know how to substitute something else that any one may apply with ease. This can be readily done with handkerchiefs.
827. Any Ordinary Handkerchief will do; but a square of linen folded into various shapes answers better. The shapes generally required are as follows:- The triangle, the long square, the cravat, and the cord.
828. The Triangular Handkerchief is made by folding it from corner to corner. Use, as a bandage for the head. Application.--Place the base round the head, and the short part hanging down behind, then tie the long ends over it.
829. The Long Square is made by folding the handkerchief in three. Use, as a bandage to the ribs, belly, &c. If one handkerchief is not long enough, sew two together.
830. The Cravat is folded as usual with cravats. Use, as a bandage for the head, arms, legs, feet, neck, &c.
831. The Cord is used to compress vessels, when a knot is made in it, and placed over the vessel to be compressed. It is merely a handkerchief twisted in its diagonal.
832. Two or more Handkerchiefs must sometimes be applied, as in a broken collar-bone, or when it is necessary to keep dressings under the arm. The bandage is applied by knotting the opposite corners of one handkerchief together, and passing the left arm through it, then passing another handkerchief under the right arm, and tying it. By this means we can brace the shoulders well back, and the handkerchief will press firmly over the broken collar-bone: besides, this form of bandage does not readily slip or get slack, but it requires to be combined with the sling, in order to keep the arm steady.
833. For an Inflamed Breast that requires support, or dressings to be kept to it, pass one corner over the shoulder, bring the body of it over the breast, and pass it upwards and backwards under the arm of that side, and tie the opposite corners together.
834. An Excellent Sling is formed by placing one handkerchief around the neck, and knotting opposite corners over the breast bone, then placing the other in triangle under the arm, to be supported with the base near to the hand; tie the ends over the handkerchief, and pin the top to the other part, after passing it around the elbow.