Small dangers that might result in minor cuts and scrapes are commonplace. All it takes is one lapse in concentration while slicing bread to slash your finger. Or you trip and scrape your knee. Seek medical assistance right once if you have a severe incision that is bleeding profusely or has something embedded in it. If it's a minor cut or scratch, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands with soap and water first, then, using cool water, rinse the cut or scrape to eliminate any dirt or debris. Hold the area under running water or pour clean water from a cup over it. Stronger cleaning solutions, such as hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or rubbing alcohol, should not be used to treat minor cuts and scrapes since they may aggravate the wound. For washing the wound, use cool, clean water.
- Stop the blood flow. A modest amount of blood can aid in wound cleaning. Smaller wounds and abrasions normally heal on their own. Because there are so many blood veins in the head and hand, cuts to those places may bleed more. To stop the bleeding, use a clean cloth or gauze to apply hard, direct pressure. Continue to apply consistent pressure. Raising the cloth or gauze to check on the wound may cause the lesion to bleed again. If blood leaks through the bandage, simply add more on top and continue to apply pressure. If the cut is on your hand or arm, raise it over your head to help stem the bleeding. Get medical treatment right away if the cut bleeds or does not stop bleeding.
Most minor cuts and abrasions do not require medical attention. However, contact your doctor if:
- Your wound is on your cheek.
- The cut's margins are ragged or gape open, the incision is deep (1/4 inch or more), or fat or muscle can be seen. These are indications that you may require stitches.
- If you can't get all of the dirt or debris out of the wound, it's because it was created by anything filthy or rusted.
- You have a puncture or cut and have not gotten a tetanus injection in the last 5 years.
- The wound is the result of an animal or human bite.
- The affected area is numb.
Once the bleeding has stopped and the incision is clean, apply a sterile bandage or gauze pad and tape to cover it. If the cut is minor and in a location that won't become soiled or rubbed by your clothes, you can leave it alone. However, covering most wounds is a good idea to help avoid infection or reopening the incision. Replace the dressing or bandage every day, or more frequently if it becomes unclean.
Antibiotic ointment can reduce the likelihood of infection. Applying a small coating of antibiotic ointment before applying the bandage or gauze dressing will keep cuts and scrapes clean and moist, and will help prevent scarring.
Keep an eye out for infection symptoms. If the wound is not healing or you observe any of the following indicators of infection, contact your doctor immediately:
- Heat, swelling, and redness
- Increasing discomfort
- Pus or discharge from a wound
- Streaks of red around the wound
- When the Wound Begin to Heal
Small scratches and cuts will produce a scab and recover in a few days. While new skin grows behind the scab, it protects the wound from debris and pathogens. You may not need to use a bandage once a scab has formed.
Although a healed wound or scab will itch, avoid scratching or picking at scabs. Without your assistance, the scab will fall off on its own, revealing the fresh skin beneath.