Minor cuts and scrapes are usually the most common form of injury particularly among kids. They don’t propel you to visit the emergency room. Yet proper care is important to prevent infection or other related complications. These guidelines can help you care for simple wounds:
Minor cuts and scrapes usually stop bleeding without any initiative taken by you. If the bleeding doesn’t seem to stop, put mild pressure with a clean cloth or bandage. Hold the pressure continuously for 20 to 30 minutes and if possible lift up the wound. Resist your urge to check to if the bleeding has stopped because this may damage or dislodge the clot that’s forming and cause bleeding to resume. If you find that blood spurts or continues flowing after putting continuous pressure, seek medical assistance.
Clean the wound
Once the bleeding is stopped rinse out the wound with clear water. Soap can irritate the wound, so try not to use it on the site of the wound. If dirt or debris still remains in the wound after washing, use tweezers sterilized with alcohol to remove the particles. If debris still remains inside, consult your doctor. Thorough cleaning reduces the risk of infection and tetanus. To clean the area surrounding the wound, use soap and a washcloth but make sure the wound does not get affected by soap. You need not use hydrogen peroxide, iodine or an iodine-containing cleanser.
Application of an antibiotic
After you clean the wound, apply a thin layer of an antibiotic cream or ointment namely Neosporin or Polysporin. This help keep the surface of the affected area moist. The products don’t facilitate quick healing, but they can prevent infection and help your body’s natural healing process. Certain ingredients in some ointments can develop a mild allergic rash in some people. Stop using the ointment if you come across such problem.
Cover the wound
Bandages can help keep the wound clean and prevent it from getting infected by harmful bacteria. After the wound has healed enough minimizing the risk of infection, it is better to expose the wound to air to accelerate the healing process.
Change the dressing
Change the bandage daily or whenever it becomes wet or dirty. If you experience allergy using the adhesive used in most of the bandages, switch to adhesive-free bandages or sterilized gauze held in place with paper tape, gauze roll or a loose elastic bandage. These first aid kits generally are available at pharmacies.
Get stitches for serious wounds
If a wound that is more than 1/4-inch (6 millimeters) deep or is gaping or has developed rough edges and has fat or muscle sticking out it usually requires stitches to close your wounds completely. Adhesive strips or butterfly tape may hold a minor cut together, but if you face difficulty in closing the wound, consult your doctor as early as possible because proper closing of the wound without much delay reduces the risk of infection.
Beware of signs of infection.
Call your doctor if the wound does not seem like healing or you observe any redness, increasing pain, drainage, warmth or swelling at the affected area.
Get a tetanus shot
Doctors generally recommend a tetanus shot every 10 years. If your wound is deep enough or dirty and if you have got the last tetanus shot more than five years ago, your doctor may recommend a tetanus booster within 48 hours of suffering the wound. This is chiefly because most of the cases of tetanus is due to deep and dirty wounds.