What are Gauze Rolls?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

Gauze rolls are products used in the administration of first aid, as well as in the dressing of wounds. These rolls are used in the medical field to treat skin that has been cut, broken, scraped, or burned, so it is crucial that they be stored in sterile packaging to protect the patient from infection. It is quite common for rolled gauze to be used to treat a wound on one of the limbs. This is because the long strip of gauze can be used to wrap around an arm, leg, wrist, or similar body part. As such, the product serves to protect wounds and can also be used to keep other dressings in place.

Gauze rolls are commonly used to dress wounds.
Gauze rolls are commonly used to dress wounds.

Medical suppliers that sell gauze often offer them in various widths. This allows medical practitioners to use gauze rolls on various kinds of injuries. For example, gauze rolls that are just 1 inch (about 2.5 cm) wide can be used to treat small wounds, and can be wrapped around smaller body parts such as fingers and toes. Rolls in smaller sizes can also be used in pediatric medicine. Wider rolls, of course, can be used in the treatment and dressing of larger wounds.

Gauze rolls can be easily wrapped over open wounds or around the hands or other areas where a bandage would not be suitable.
Gauze rolls can be easily wrapped over open wounds or around the hands or other areas where a bandage would not be suitable.

In most cases, gauze rolls are made out of cotton. The same is true of most other gauze products that are used in first aid and in medical treatments. The material is very light and has an open weave, which keeps the material from sticking to the wound. Bandages that stick to the wound can cause further damage, especially in the cases of widespread skin afflictions and burns. There are also some kinds of rolled gauze that are coated with products like calamine or zinc oxide, which can help the healing process.

Gauze can be wrapped around the wrist for protection if there's a significant injury.
Gauze can be wrapped around the wrist for protection if there's a significant injury.

Some kinds of gauze rolls are made out of a material that is specially designed to adhere to itself. The purpose of this design is to aid in the process of dressing a wound. If the gauze is not made so that it easily adheres to itself, the dressing may have to be secured with another product such as medical tape to make sure that the wound remains covered. The rolls come in various lengths, which can be chosen between depending on the intended use of the product. Usually the size of the area being treated will determine the proper length of a gauze roll.

Gauze rolls can be wrapped around a sterile dressing to secure it in place.
Gauze rolls can be wrapped around a sterile dressing to secure it in place.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments

literally45

@candyquilt-- I agree with you. And tape isn't even required to secure a gauze roll. I cut my hand while cooking last week and I had to wrap it up to keep it clean. Tape however would not stay because I kept bending my hand. Then, my husband rolled gauze over it. He got the one side down a few inches vertically, pulled each side over my hand and tied it. It was so comfortable and secure at the same time. It stayed on until I was ready to remove it.

candyquilt

@bluedolphin-- Yes, you can apply a little bit of antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly onto the wound before applying the gauze. This will prevent the gauze from sticking to your wound. Or you can apply a non-stick dressing on the wound and then use the gauze roll over it.

There are gauze products out there that have a special coating that prevents them from sticking. I think those are much better for covering wounds. Look for that type of product next time.

There are advantages to regular cotton gauze rolls as well though. They are multi-purpose and can be used for various first aid treatments. For example, in an emergency, they can even be used as a sling to immobilize the arm. And they can be wrapped over all other types of dressing to keep them in place. Gauze rolls can be used on any part of the body without any problems.

So this is definitely a must have in the first aid kit. Even if you can't use it over the wound, you can use it for many other things.

bluedolphin

Is there a way to keep cotton gauze rolls from sticking to a wound? I bought a large cotton gauze roll and it sticks to wounds. I don't want to waste it though. Is there a way to continue using it without causing further injury?

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