As summertime rolls around again, that means more and more of us will be spending time out in the garden or in the park, or even out with the kids exploring and cycling around the local area. While all of this extra activity is great, it can prove a tough time for our skin, leading to many extra cuts and scrapes that are easy to pick up during the summer adventures.
There are many cuts and grazes that can be cared for at home using everyday over-the-counter wound care products. These products are specially designed to protect cuts and grazes from the outside elements and give them the opportunity to heal while remaining clean and safe.
If your cut is bigger than a graze, has jagged edges, or has been caused by something dirty like a nail or projectile, it’s best to go to your nearest ER department as you may require stitches or antibiotics to sort it out.
Sorting it Out at Home
If you don’t need stitches, there are a few things you should do to ensure you give your newly acquired injury the best chance of healing safely.
Wash the Wound and Your Hands
There’s a reason medical professionals wear gloves. This is to stop germs and bugs from getting into your cut! You can lessen the chance of getting something nasty in there by washing your hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds (sing happy birthday twice if you need a timer), and flushing the wound out with salt water (saline).
It’s important that you don’t use any soap or disinfectant (like hydrogen peroxide) when washing a wound. Plain water or salty water is best.
Stop the Wound Bleeding
If the bleeding is severe, it’s vital that you seek medical attention. Arteries and veins can sometimes lurk just beneath the skin, so if you’re finding it hard to stop the bleeding, get medical help straight away.
If it’s not too bad, apply pressure to the wound for at least 30 seconds. If you can, elevate the wound above your heart. Hold your arm up if it’s a finger or arm, or lay on the floor and raise your leg if it’s a wound on the leg.
Keep it Clean
Make sure you remove any dirt or debris left in the wound before you cover it. Not cleaning the wound and covering it can lead to some nasty infections.
Once you’ve washed it out thoroughly, cover it with a Band-Aid or similar wound care solution to stop any new dirt or debris from getting in. Applying a thin layer of antiseptic cream or petroleum jelly can work wonders against scarring. Change your dressing if it becomes dirty to prevent further risk of infection.
It’s important that you seek proper medical help if you are unable to remove all of the dirt and debris from your wound.
A Note About Tetanus
A tetanus shot only lasts for five years. Although catching tetanus is fairly rare, the symptoms can be horrible to bear. If you are injured by something dirty such as a rusty nail or even a bite from an animal, and you haven’t had a tetanus shot in the last five years, get one as soon as possible.