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Tips for Treating Cuts

Posted on Aug 07, 2018. No comments

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.

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