How to Treat Wounds and Stop Bleeding
Treating minor cuts is relatively simple. If you have a child, you've most likely been doing it for years! You can tell a cut is minor if it's near the surface and is not close to any important veins or arteries.
Minor cuts can look a lot worse than they are. Here are some simple steps to follow when treating a minor cut:
Don't use cotton balls to clean wounds. The tiny fibers might add to the injury. They can pull on scabs that might be forming, which can contaminate the wound below the surface.
Never remove impaled objects from a cut or puncture wound. Wait for help to arrive.
- Wash your hands to avoid introducing infection into the wound.
- Wash the wound with an antibacterial antiseptic and a clean sterile cloth. In an emergency where help or a first aid kit are nowhere in sight, a clean ripped T-shirt will do! Only use an article of clothing in absolute emergencies because they are not always clean and may induce infection.
- Once you've applied a sterile cloth to cover the wound, apply direct pressure to the wound to slow the bleeding. Press firmly on the cut with your fingers and hand for several minutes without letting up. If the bleeding doesn't stop, you may have a deeper wound than you first thought. Get help as soon as possible. In the worst possible instance, you might have to apply a tourniquet.
- After the wound stops bleeding, remove the pressure. Gently apply an antibiotic cream.
- Cover the wound to avoid infection. Use adhesive bandages for small cuts and scrapes. Use non-stick gauze pads (taped down with adhesive tape) for large scrapes, surface area wounds, and wounds that are beginning to heal. Be careful when changing dressings because adhesives can pull on developing scabs.
More on: First Aid
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to First Aid Basics © 1996 by Stephen J. Rosenberg, M.D. and Karla Dougherty. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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