A dad puts a bandage on his daughter's arm
Home Health, Wound Care

Taking Care of The Little Things: How to Treat Cuts and Scrapes

In the fresh air and warmth of the sun, adventure calls. However, with adventure often comes minor injuries. These types of injuries can happen anywhere— working in the garden, washing the car, cooking in the kitchen and beyond. Being prepared is vital to care for those minor wounds when they do happen. Bayhealth Wound Care Physician Lydell C. Lettsome, MD, FACS, WCC, shares four guidelines to care for cuts and scrapes:

  1. Hygiene. The first step after a cut or scrape occurs would be to wash your hands with mild soap and water. Whether the wound is on your hand or somewhere else, it’s important to work with clean hands to prevent infection. Then you would clean the wound itself carefully with sterile saline or a wound wash to remove any loose debris or dirt. Avoid things like betadine, witch hazel, hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol unless the wound was caused by something clearly dirty or contaminated.

  2. Apply Pressure. If the wound is bleeding a lot, you will want to apply pressure with clean gauze or cloth. Maintain the pressure until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding doesn’t stop with five minutes of consistent direct pressure, then seek medical attention. This will allow you to dress it properly without the bandage becoming saturated.

  3. Aid Healing. Once the bleeding has stopped, keeping the wound moist will encourage healing to happen quicker. An easy way to do this is using a small amount of bacitracin, Neosporin or petroleum jelly. If the cut dries out, it takes longer for it to mend and a painful scab may form. Reapply until the wound heals.

  4. Use a Sterile Bandage. Keeping the cut covered and protected is important so that it doesn’t re-open and begin bleeding again. Remember to completely cover all sides of the wound.

If you have an instance where your cut will not stop bleeding, is longer than three-fourths of an inch or is a quarter inch deep, seek medical attention promptly. Otherwise, keep watch over your cut, it should heal within a week or so. If it becomes infected—red, swollen, or producing pus—it might need to be seen by your primary care physician. Most cuts and scrapes can be cared for properly right at home as long as you’re equipped.

Visit Bayhealth.org/Wound-Care to find out more about Bayhealth’s Wound Care Center or to find a specialist today.

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