With spring in the air we spend more time being active outside and doing a lot of spring cleaning inside. This extra activity can certainly increase our risk of getting a cut or a scrape. Minor cuts and scrapes don’t require a trip to the Urgent Care or ER. These guidelines can help you treat your wound at home.
WASH YOUR HANDS!
This helps avoid infection while you are treating the wound. If you do have disposable protective gloves at home put them on.
STOP THE BLEEDING!
Minor cuts and scrapes usually stop bleeding alone. However if the bleeding continues apply gentle pressure with a sterile bandage or a clean cloth.
CLEAN THE WOUND!
Use clear water to rinse the wound. Also clean around the wound with soap and water. Thorough cleaning reduces the risk for infection and tetanus. There is no need to use hydrogen peroxide or iodine since these products can be irritating to the already injured tissue and prolong the healing process.
APPLY ANTIBIOTIC CREAM!
Apply a thin layer of antibiotic cream or ointment to help keep the surface moist. These products don’t help the wound to heal faster but they can discourage infection and help the body’s natural healing processes.
COVER THE WOUND!
Bandages can help keep the wound clean and keep harmful bacteria out. If the injury is just a minor scrape or scratch keep it uncovered.
WATCH FOR SIGNS OF INFECTION!
See your healthcare provider if the wound isn’t healing or if you notice any redness, increasing pain, drainage, warmth or swelling.
GET A TETANUS SHOT!
If you haven’t had a recent tetanus shot and the wound is deep or dirty make sure to get a tetanus shot as soon as possible.
Remember if you have questions about a cut or scrape make sure to contact and follow up with your health care provider.