Cuts and wounds are a part of our daily lives and generally are harmless; they heal on their own with proper first-aid. Learn to attend to these wounds.
Cuts and scrapes that are minor can be taken care of at home and do not need any emergency attention. However, one shouldn’t confuse emergency with urgent. It is essential to urgently attend to such wounds and provide first-aid in order to avoid infections and other complications. Here are simple tips to take care of minor wounds at home. Image Courtesy: Getty
Bleeding from minor cuts and scrapes usually stop bleeding on their own but if they don’t, you can apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or bandage. Elevate the wound and hold the pressure for 20 to 30 minutes. Don’t keep removing the bandage to check if the bleeding has stopped because it could dislodge the clot that is forming and could resume bleeding. Image Courtesy: Getty
Rinse the wound with clean water; don’t use soap because it can irritate the wound. If water doesn’t clean the wound fully and dirt remains, tweezers sanitized with alcohol can help. You must see your doctor is particles still remain because they can cause an infection and tetanus. There's no need to use hydrogen peroxide, iodine or an iodine-containing cleanser. Image Courtesy: Getty
An antibiotic cream or ointment such as Neosporin or Polysporin help keep the surface moist and can be applied as a thin layer after cleaning the wound. Remember, these don’t help the wound to heal fast; they only help your body’s natural discharge by discouraging infection. If you experience a rash on applying any anti-septic ointments, discontinue their use. Image Courtesy: Getty
In order to keep your wounds clean and avoid harmful bacteria, you must keep it covered. Use a bandage to do so. But, bandage the wound only until it has healed enough to make an infection unlikely. After this, you must keep it open because exposure to the air will speed wound healing. Image Courtesy: Getty
Whenever your bandage gets wet or dirty, change it because moisture can leave room for infectious bacteria to grow. Go for adhesive-free dressings or sterile gauze in place of paper tape, gauze roll or a loosely applied elastic bandage in case you are allergic to the adhesive used in most bandages. Image Courtesy: Getty
If your wound is deeper than ¼ inch or 6 millimetres, or is gaping, or has fat muscle protruding, it will require stitches. Adhesive strips can’t hold such deep cuts. Proper closure of the wound is necessary and should be done within a few hours of getting hurt so that the risk of infection reduces. Image Courtesy: Getty
If your wound doesn’t start healing within 2-3 days of getting hurt, or if you notice any redness, experience increasing pain, drainage, warmth, and/or swelling, see the doctor for these could be signs of an infection culminating. Image Courtesy: Getty
A tetanus shot is recommended every 10 years. If your wound is deep or dirty and your last shot was more than five years ago, your doctor may recommend a tetanus shot booster. Get the booster as soon as possible after the injury. Image Courtesy: Getty
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