We all experience cuts, scrapes, and abrasions but how many of us truly know how to properly treat a wound? It is important to know the necessary steps in order to avoid further complications, and even infection.
Stop the Bleeding
Typically you can expect smaller cuts and scrapes to stop bleeding on their own. However, a cut to the head or hand may bleed more due to more blood vessels. If bleeding does not stop, gently apply firm pressure with a clean cloth or gauze. Elevate the wound if possible and continue to apply pressure for 20 to 30 minutes. Be sure not to check if the bleeding has stopped as it may damage the clot that has been forming resulting in more bleeding. If blood continues to flow after 30 minutes, seek medical assistance.
Clean the Wound
Rinse the cut or scrape with cool and clear water to remove debris. If you are using soap to clean dirt or debris, try to keep it out of the wound as it can irritate it. Being thorough during the cleaning process reduced the risk of infection. Cleaning solutions such as hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol are not necessary on minor cuts as they can also irritate the wound.
Though it is not always necessary, applying an antibiotic such as Neosporin or Polysporin helps keeps the wound moist. Don’t expect them to make it heal faster, but rather prevent infection and aid the healing process.
Cover the Cut or Scrape
Cover the wound with a sterile bandage or medical gauze to keep it clean and keep bacteria out. Try to change the bandage or dressing at least once every day. After some healing has occurred, a scab will form and you can remove all bandages to increase air exposure, which will speed up the healing.
You will want to check your wound daily for signs of infection. If pain increases or you notice any swelling, warm or redness, you may need to see your doctor. Continue to let your wound heal and although it may itch, try not to scratch or pick at the scab – it will fall off on its own with time.