Whether you’re highly active in sports and outdoor activities or a parent taking care of your endlessly active children, first aid for cuts is a life skill that virtually everyone needs to embrace. Reliable health websites such as the Mayo Clinic provide information on stopping bleeding and other best practices. For a serious cut, stitches and a trip to the emergency room might be required. However, for everyday cuts and scrapes, first aid is usually something that can be handled at home.
While small cuts and scrapes may not seem like a medical emergency, it is important to follow proper first aid procedure for addressing wounds so that they heal completely and do not become infected. First aid for cuts at home is simple and easy enough for anyone to understand, however, it is important to follow these important steps:
Stop the Bleeding
No two cuts or scrapes bleed the same. This is because the depth of the wound as well as the wound’s location on the body all contribute to how serious the bleeding will be. Stopping the bleeding is an important first step because it is also the time to decide whether or not a wound is serious enough to go to the hospital or not, since a wound that continues to bleed even after a few minutes of attending to it may be too deep to handle at home.
The best approach is to apply direct pressure on top of the cut. This usually will staunch the flow of blood, allowing the remaining blood in the wound to coagulate enough to stop all bleeding. Use a gauze, tissue, or clean cloth when you apply pressure, removing it every minute or so to monitor the bleeding.
Clean the Wound
Cleaning a wound is perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of first aid for cuts, since many people believe that disinfecting a wound with an antibiotic or antimicrobial accounts for “cleaning.” However, cleaning and disinfecting wounds are two distinct steps.
Many cuts and wounds occur after a fall or crash of some sort. If the wound was the result of hitting the ground, then there is a good chance that dirt and debris will be in and around the wound, which, if not treated, can give rise to future infection. Once bleeding has stopped, wounds should be very gently cleaned with soap and lukewarm water, taking care to not re-open the wound. Scrubbing too hard or using hot water can resume bleeding, so it is better to go slowly and deliberately in this step, ensuring that all of the dirt, sand, or other debris is completely gone.
Disinfect the Wound
Once the wound is completely clean, an antimicrobial should be applied to the wound before dressing it. Antimicrobials such as CUROXEN (Learn Why CUROXEN works best)work to kill any bacteria that may have entered through contact with the ground or foreign object that caused the cut or scrape, as well as create a barrier for future invading bacteria. Antimicrobials need not be rubbed in, but can be gently applied to the top of the wound just prior to applying a bandage.
Protect the Wound
The body’s ability to heal itself is remarkable, and eventually, a wound will form a scab that will act as a natural “bandage.” However, a fresh wound often needs a bandage for at least 1 to 2 days. There are a wide range of supplies that can be used to dress a wound, ranging from an assortment of ready-made bandages in different shapes and sizes, as well as gauze and surgical tape. Smaller wounds can often be handled with a simple “band-aid,” but longer, larger, or deeper cuts may require a larger dressing. In this case, a piece of gauze can be cut and fitted to virtually and sized wound, and kept in place with a series of adhesive strips made from surgical tape. This tape can also be used to reinforce smaller adhesive bandages as well.
Depending on the severity of the wound, dressings should be changed with relative frequency to help prevent infection. Antimicrobials can be reapplied with subsequent dressings to reinforce the microbial barrier and accelerate healing.