It’s a common part of life. If you can move, you will get a cut or scratch at some time. Kids do it all the time but so do adults. If you happen to have a cut or scratch, here are some first aid tips to help it heal fast.
Cuts and scratches are considered minor injuries but that can change depending on the circumstances. Here are some guidelines to help you administer the right treatment.
How to Evaluate Cuts
The skin contains a lot of nerve endings and blood vessels. A minor cut could hurt like heck and bleed as if you ruptured a kidney. But, before you panic, try these few steps.
* Clean the cut – Before you reach for the peroxide, start with soap and water. It will remove all dirt more effectively. Soap will bind with the dirt and a stream of water will wash it away. Peroxide bubbles in the face of dirt in a cut, but the wound can still heal with some dirt or other foreign substance inside. That can develop into an infection later.
* Dry the cut – Once you dry you can tell if and what is still bleeding. The depth of the cut will also become apparent.
* Apply mild pressure to shallow cuts – Because of the many blood vessels, even a shallow cut may bleed a lot. Applying a little pressure can stop the bleeding. Then, the wound can be dressed with a dry gauze and tape. Avoid ointment on open wounds. Wait until the cut starts to heal.
* See a doctor – If the cut is deep, a bandage won’t do. And, the bleeding may not stop with pressure. For deep cuts, cuts longer than an inch, heavy bleeding, puncture wounds and large debris in wounds, medical attention is needed.
How to Evaluate Scrapes
Scrapes are usually more straightforward than cuts. Here are some suggestions for caring for them.
* Wash the scrape – Even tiny bits of debris like small stone chips can lead to infection. Wash with soap and water as soon as you can.
* Check out what made the scrape – Any animal scrapes that involve teeth or claws will need a doctor’s attention. If they are stray animals, don’t hesitate to get a tetanus or rabies shot. Also watch out for rusty nails, fences and other metals.
* Dry the scrape and dress – Now you can see how deep and damaged the skin really is. Many scrapes can be handled with an antibiotic ointment only. Leaving the scrape exposed to air will help speed healing. The ointment keeps further dirt out as it heals.
At some time in your life you will acquire a cut or scrape. Applying beginner’s first aid will help you evaluate the injury to see if you need further medical attention.