Most minor cuts and scrapes can be successfully treated at home. With the right wound care, you’ll find that most cuts and scrapes heal up quickly. However, if you don’t treat a wound properly, you may start noticing signs of infection.
That being said, knowing the basics of wound care can save you a lot of time and trouble. With the right skills and tools, you can avoid infection almost every time.
If you’re unsure about what to do in the face of a cut, scrape, or scratch, you’ve come to the right place.
Read on to learn the basics of wound care so that you can treat yourself, your kids, or your coworkers without a hitch.
Building Your Own Wound Care Kit
As we mentioned earlier, proper wound care starts with having the right tools on hand. By building your own wound care kit, you can stay prepared for any cut, scrape, or scratch that comes your way!
Here are some of the items we recommend for your wound care kit, which you can store in anything from a durable plastic bag to a large plastic pencil case:
- antiseptic wipes
- gauze pads for dressing and cleaning
- antibiotic cream or ointment (OTC products are fine)
- petroleum jelly
- adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
- bandage rolls for larger wounds
- bandage tape (ie cloth tape)
- disposable sterile gloves
It is helpful to keep a wound care kit in your home as well as in your workplace. If you are embarking on a hiking or camping trip, we recommend bringing along a compact version of your wound care kit in case someone develops a wound on the trail.
Stopping the Bleeding and Cleaning a Minor Wound
The first step in caring for a minor wound is to stop the blood flow to the best of your abilities. You can do this by applying pressure to the wound using a clean piece of gauze. If the bleeding persists after a few minutes, use a bandage to hold the gauze in place, making sure that there is still pressure on the wound.
Once the bleeding ceases, it’s time to clean the wound. Start by running cool water over the affected area, using soap to wash the skin surrounding the wound (but not the wound, itself).
If there is any debris in the wound (like a splinter or gravel), use the tweezers to gently remove it. Note that before each use of the tweezers, you should clean them using rubbing alcohol or an antiseptic wipe.
Applying Topical Treatment
When the wound is clean and clear of debris, it’s time to apply a topical treatment. We recommend starting with your antibiotic cream or ointment, which will help prevent infection as the wound begins to heal.
Some people may have skin sensitivities or allergies that may lead to a rash or skin irritation when antibiotic creams are used. If this is the case or you notice a rash developing around the wound, use a thin layer of petroleum jelly, instead. This will keep the wound moisturized and reduce scarring while also creating a barrier that may reduce the risk of infection.
To Bandage or Not to Bandage?
Airing out a cut or scrape can help the skin to heal quickly. However, it’s often best to bandage a wound under certain conditions.
For example, if the wounded person is at school or at work, a bandage is the way to go. Because they are expected to carry on their day-to-day duties while also touching surfaces and spending time around others, there is a higher risk of bacteria getting in an unbandaged wound. You should also apply a bandage to an area that is prone to get a lot of use, such as the hand.
If a cut or scrape has only affected the surface level of the skin, you may be able to avoid using a bandage altogether.
Minor Wound Aftercare
The way you treat a fresh wound will affect the way that wound heals and whether or not it becomes infected or leaves a lasting scar. However, it is important to focus on aftercare, as well.
Some wounds, like surface-level scrapes, may not need much aftercare. As long as you keep it clean and free of debris while the skin heals, it will take care of itself on its own.
However, deeper cuts and scrapes need more attention. The most important thing is to make sure you’re changing the bandage at least once a day. If a bandage becomes dirty or wet, change it regardless of how long it has been in use.
Recognizing the Signs of a More Serious Injury
Basic wound care will come in handy often, but there are still times when cuts and scrapes are more serious and require medical care. This is the case when a cut is unusually large or deep, a sign that stitches may be necessary.
One of the earliest signs that a wound is too serious for basic wound care is if it won’t stop bleeding after twenty to thirty minutes of applied pressure. Another sign that a wound requires medical attention is if it becomes infected down the road.
If you are concerned about a wound, look for your nearest MedNow Urgent Care or a comparable medical center. The earlier you receive medical care for a serious wound, the fewer complications you will face.
Basic Wound Care Always Comes in Handy
Having the tools and skills to handle basic wound care will always come in handy. Infections and other complications are often preventable as long as you know what to do!
Are you taking these new wound care skills to work? Are you looking for even more ways to innovate your workplace? Take a look at the rest of our content to find out how you can turn any business into a success story.