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      News — Treating Cuts

      How To Improve Your First Aid Knowledge

      How To Improve Your First Aid Knowledge

      Responding appropriately in an emergency situation requires knowledge. Unfortunately, first aid know-how isn't something people are born with. It's up to you to improve your understanding and skills. Consider exploring some of these resources to learn more.


      1. Read a First Aid Guide: Most first aid kits come with a first aid booklet. These booklets provide instructions for responding to some of the most common first aid situations. First aid guides are useful for familiarizing yourself with the problems you're most likely to face in daily life. However, they can only take you so far. If you're already comfortable with first aid basics, you'll need to consult more detailed sources.

      1. Watch Videos Online: The internet is a great resource for learning more about first aid. A quick search will connect you with hundreds of videos demonstrating skills you may need. Online videos allow you to expand your knowledge in the comfort of your home. However, be wary. Only trust videos from reputable sources. If you're not sure about the information you're receiving, move on.

      1. Take an Online Course: An online first aid course will provide you with quality information presented in a clear, logical way. Completing such a course will make sure you encounter all of the information you need to be effective in a number of different situations. Some online courses may also offer certification tests, which may be mandatory for certain employment opportunities. 

      1. Take an In-Person First Aid Course: There is no substitute for an in-person first aid course. An in-person course puts you face to face with an expert in the field, allowing you to ask questions and receive targeted guidance. Basic first aid courses are available in a number of places, including YMCAs, community centers, and pools. While this option will cost more than online courses, the hands-on experience makes the price tag well worth it.

      1. Become CPR Certified: Take your knowledge a step further by attending a CPR class. CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is performed when someone has stopped breathing and doesn't have a pulse. A 1 to 3 hour course will teach you how to perform CPR correctly and safely. While this course does not go as in-depth as paramedic training, it does equip you with the information you need to save a life.

      1. Take a Targeted First Aid Course: Depending on your occupation and lifestyle, you may find yourself needing first aid training that goes above and beyond what you'd find in a basic course. A targeted first aid course will help you hone in on the skills that are most relevant. Courses in workplace safety, backpacking first aid, boating safety, first aid for mental health, and many other topics are commonly available. 

      Keep learning and refresh your knowledge regularly to make sure you know what to do if the unexpected strikes.

      Tips for Treating Cuts

      You are preparing vegetables for dinner and the knife slips and cuts into your finger. Your child is using scissors and accidentally cuts into her hand. Your brother-in-law is moving furniture and gashes open his shins.


      Cuts bleed. And this can be disconcerting, depending upon the amount of blood. But you can learn how to treat both minor and larger cuts by following these basic guidelines:


      Call 9-1-1 immediately if:


      • The bleeding is severe.
      • The wound is on the face, neck, chest or abdomen.
      • You suspect internal bleeding.
      • Blood spurts out of the wound.
      • The bleeding can’t be stopped after applying pressure for 10 minutes.


      How to treat minor cuts:


        • Wash your hands. Use soap and water to help prevent getting bacteria into the cut and causing an infection. If you’re on the go, use hand sanitizer. If you have them, put on latex-free gloves to further discourage the spread of bacteria.
        • Stop the bleeding. Apply pressure to the area with a clean cloth or a gauze pad. Keep it on for several minutes.
        • Clean the wound. Wash the area around the wound with soap and water. Avoid getting soap into the wound because it could irritate it. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or iodine; these also could be irritating. If there is any dirt or debris, remove it with tweezers that were cleaned with alcohol.
    • Dry the wound by patting it gently with a clean cloth or gauze pad.
      • Apply antibiotic ointment. This reduces the chance of infection.
      • Apply a sterile gauze or adhesive bandage, depending on the size of the cut. Change the bandage every day or whenever it gets wet or dirty.

      How to treat large or deep cuts:


        • Wash your hands. If they are available, wear clean latex-free gloves.
        • Stop the bleeding by covering the entire wound with a clean cloth or gauze pad. Apply steady, direct pressure on the wound for 5 minutes. If blood soaks through the material, put another cloth or gauze pad on top of it and continue to apply pressure until the bleeding stops. If the wound in on the arm or leg, raise the limb above the heart to help slow bleeding.
        • Clean the wound. Wash the area around the wound with soap. Avoid getting soap into the wound because it could irritate it. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or iodine; these also could be irritating. If there is any dirt or debris, remove it with tweezers that were cleaned with alcohol.
    • Dry the wound by patting it gently with a clean cloth or gauze pad.
      • Apply antibiotic ointment. This reduces the chance of infection.
      • Apply a sterile gauze bandage. Change the bandage every day or whenever it gets wet or dirty.


      When to get medical care:


      • The cut is very deep.
      • The edges of the cut are jagged or gaping open.
      • The cut is over a joint.
      • You cannot remove all of the debris or something is stuck in the wound. It is important to remove all debris to prevent infection.
      • There are signs of infection: the person runs a fever or the wound is red, tender, swollen or discharging pus.
      • The area around the cut feels numb.
      • The wound has red streaks around it.
      • The skin got punctured as a result of a human or animal bite.
      • The injury is deep puncture and the person hasn’t had a tetanus shot in the last 5-10 years.

      Cuts happen. They come in all sizes and degrees, from the slight paper cut that penetrates only the top layer of skin to the deep gash that exposes bone. You now have the basic information on how to treat cuts. The next step is to make sure that you are prepared to do so because it’s never ideal to have to be searching for gauze, tweezers and antibiotic cream in the middle of an emergency. So keep a well-stocked first aid kit close by so that you have quick access to the tools and materials to help you put this information into practice.