In the event of a cut, scrape, or scratch, it’s important that you perform the necessary procedures to begin the process of healing and to avoid infection. Oftentimes, these cases don’t need to be brought to an emergency room or doctor’s clinic for further treatment but still require a degree of care in order to avoid infection. By following these simple steps, you can effectively and efficiently help someone or yourself resolve minor cuts and wounds for better healing.
- Wash Your Hands – Before handling a cut, make sure that your hands are clean and free from potential contaminants that could cause infection. For deeper wounds with debris, it would be better to use gloves when handling for proper removal of dirt and shrapnel.
- Address the Bleeding – If a cut is bleeding excessively, it’s important that you decrease blood flow to limit loss. Apply pressure, secure a tourniquet, and elevate the cut above heart level as necessary to stop the bleeding.
- Clean the Cut – Clean the cut by pouring clear, clean water over the wound. If there are debris and shrapnel that you can remove with your gloved hands, do so. For smaller debris, use a clean pair of tweezers that have been disinfected with alcohol. If debris are still present and you can no longer manage to reach them without causing more damage to the cut tissue, see a doctor. Avoid using any other products like hydrogen peroxide or iodine on the wound as these can cause irritation. You can wash the surrounding skin with mild soap, but avoid getting it into the open cut.
- Put Antibiotic – Antibiotic creams and ointments work to keep the skin moisturized and healthy to help fight off infections. Apply a small amount around the wound for better healing.
- Apply a Bandage – For cuts, wounds, scrapes, and scratches that simply graze the surface of the skin, there is no need for a bandage as scabbing will occur within just a few hours. For wounds that are deeper, a loose, clean bandage placed over the area will help reduce the chances of infection. For cuts that require stitches, see a doctor.
- Change Dressings Regularly – Keep your wound clean by changing the bandage regularly. This helps keep a sanitized environment around the wound and discourages the development of bacteria.
- Keep an Eye Out for Infection – In the event of irritation, constant bleeding, pain, swelling, development of pus, or if your wound does not heal, seek the attention of a medical professional.
- Get a Shot – If the wound was caused by a piece of metal (especially if rusty), or if it was caused or licked by an animal, get the appropriate shot to eliminate the chances of complications.