When an accident occurs, it can be hard to know what to do straight away. There are many misconceptions about proper wound care. But with minor common injuries you are likely be able to care for the wound yourself. However if the cut was caused by a dirty or rusty object check that your tetanus booster is up to date and if necessary seek medical advice. These simple guidelines will help you to be prepared when you or someone around you gets a minor cut. Every household should have some form of First Aid Kit which includes a healing or antisceptic cream.
How to take Care of Minor Cuts and Scrapes
You should always wash your hands with soap and running water before treating a cut or a wound. This will help reduce your chances of infection. Soothe and clean the wound with cool running water if possible. Otherwise use a clean damp cloth to clean and soothe the affected area. If bleeding apply pressure onto the wound with a clean dry cloth for several minutes until the bleeding stops completely.
Try to avoid getting soap into the cut, as this can often irritate the wound. Irritants such as harsh soap, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, and alcohol are not suitable for cleaning minor wounds. Remove any foreign debris or particles with sterilized tweezers. Natural cleansing should be sufficient for most of the minor cuts that only require home treatment. Do not use a “wiping” motion on the cut as this could stretch it further.
Cover the wound with BAND-AID having applied an antiseptic cream. This helps the healing by preventing any bacteria, and other irritants from entering the infected area. In addition it keeps the wound moist which speeds up the healing process and reduces the appearance of scars. Change the bandage daily especially if it gets damp or soiled. As the wound heals a scab will form. Don’t be tempted to pick at the scab as this may not only reopen the wound and introduce bacteria but may also create a scar. Always cover the area with a dressing for faster healing. The dressing should extend beyond the wound by about half an inch so that it covers it completely. Try to be quick when changing dressings as exposing a wound to the open air can drop its temperature and may slow down the healing for a few hours. The bandage used to cover the dressing shouldn’t be too loose or too tight allowing for proper air circulation. Cover the wound with waterproof material such as waterproof tape if there is a risk that the area will be exposed to water. Monitor your wound to make sure it doesn’t become infected. Signs of infection include swelling, puss, warmth and the spreading of redness around the cut. If the injury is only a minor scrape or scratch with no bleeding apply healing cream and leave it uncovered.
Skin Healing Process
The healing process of a skin wound follows a predictable pattern. A wound may fail to heal if one or more of the healing stages are interrupted. The normal wound healing stages include
The Inflammatory stage
The blood vessels tighten to prevent blood loss and platelets (special clotting cells) gather to build a clot. Once the clot is completed, blood vessels expand to allow maximum blood flow to the wound. This is why a healing wound at first feels warm and looks red. White blood cells flood the area to destroy microbes and other foreign bodies. Skin cells multiply and grow across the wound.
Collagen, the protein fibre that gives skin its strength, starts to grow within the wound. The growth of collagen encourages the edges of the wound to shrink together and close. Small blood vessels (capillaries) form at the site to service the new skin with blood.
The body constantly adds more collagen and regenerates the wounded area. This is why scars tend to fade with time and why we must take care of wounds for some time after they have healed. Whether you’re concerned about scarring from a cut, scrape, stitches or acne, the best way to prevent an unsightly scar or reduce the cosmetic appearance of it is to do a good job caring for the wound. Scars tend to develop more frequently in areas of skin that are under tension or pull. Your chest, shoulders and back are common places for scars to form. To prevent scars in these areas, avoid upper body exercise and lifting heavy objects while your wound heals.
Dealing with Minor Burns & Scalds
Burns and scalds are a common but painful injury. While minor burns will heal without much medical attention, severe burns require special care to prevent infection and reduce the severity of scarring. Immediately cool the burn to help soothe the pain. If possible hold the burned area under cold running water for ten to fifteen minutes or until the pain eases. Remove rings or other tight items from the burned area. Try to do this quickly and gently, before the area swells. If blisters occur and break, gently clean the area with mild soap and water and apply a Burnshield First Aid Burn Relief Hydrogel Sachet and cover it with a nonstick gauze bandage. Apply moisturizer or an Aloe Vera Lotion or gel, which may provide relief in some cases. If needed, take a pain reliever such as Basic Care Ibuprofen Tablets or acetaminophen.
Make sure to have food rich in vitamin C, E, and A in your diet. It is also important to consume protein, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and antioxidants to fuel the healing process. In addition the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A, copper and zinc will supply your body with the nutrients essential for healing. Try to have regular exercise because it increases blood flow, improves general health and speeds up the healing process.