What’s the Best Way to Treat a Cut, Wound or Scrape?
Date Created: 08/02/2016
By Nicholas Dodaro, M.D., ABEM, FACEP
Accidents happen. It’s frustrating when we are chopping vegetables and nick our finger, but it’s even more frightening when our little one falls and cuts or scrapes their head, hands, arms, legs or knees. With the recent craze of Pokémon Go, it’s only a matter of time when your child isn’t watching where they go, trips, falls and gets injured. Luckily, there are ways to treat the injury without seeking medical attention, but sometimes you will need to visit a physician or urgent care to seek medical attention. Below are various ways you can treat a cut, puncture wound or scrape.
How to Treat a Scrape
For the most part, a small scrape or abrasion will not need medical attention. Stop the bleeding with a soft, clean paper towel or cloth by pressing on the area for a few minutes. Avoid looking at the abrasion or scrape while doing this, as decreasing pressure can make the wound start to bleed again.
Once the bleeding is under control, clean the abrasion by running warm water over it for five minutes or so, then clean the area using mild soap. If you wish, you may apply antibiotic ointment on the area and then apply a bandage to keep the scrape clean. Finally, it’s important to monitor the area, clean and change the bandage and watch for signs of any infection that may occur.
How to Treat a Cut
When a cut is minor in nature, the first thing you need to do is apply pressure to the injured area in order to stop the bleeding. Once the cut has begun to coagulate, the next thing you need to do is clean the area. Keep in mind that cuts around the face, head or mouth tend to bleed the most due to many blood vessels being in those areas. Using water and a mild soap, clean the cut. Once it’s clean, apply an antibiotic cream or ointment, such as Neosporin, to help prevent any chance of the cut becoming infected. Finally, apply a bandage over the cut to protect it and help with the healing process.
How to Treat a Puncture Wound
When dealing with a puncture wound, the first thing you should do is wash your hands with antibacterial soap so you avoid spreading infection when treating the wound. Next, rinse the wound under water for about five minutes to make sure that it’s properly cleaned. Apply antibacterial ointment and a clean bandage that will not stick to the wound. Look for any debris that may be stuck in the wound and remove it with clean tweezers, if possible. If the debris is deep or dispersed, do not remove it and seek emergency care immediately. If you still can’t see anything inside the wound or the object that caused the injury is missing, you also must seek medical attention.
When to go to Your Urgent Care Facility
Unfortunately, there will be times when you will need to visit your physician or urgent care facility to help with a cut, wound or scrape that’s more severe in nature. Seek medical attention if any one of the types of injuries are:
- Deep or over a joint
- Unable to stop bleeding
- From an animal bite or human
- Deep and the individual hasn’t had a tetanus shot within the last five to 10 years
- Unable to keep the edges of the injury together or it is jagged in nature
GuideWell Emergency Doctors can help with any injury you or your family member may encounter. Whether it’s a cut, wound or severe scrape, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately to prevent further injury, infection and scarring.