What if i get hurt?
What is the best way to treat a minor wound? And what happens when a wound heals? Here you will find useful information on practical every day first aid for minor wounds.
If you hurt yourself
If you hurt yourself and cut your skin, it is important to clean the wound immediately to avoid an infection. Rinse away dirt, stings, pieces of glass and other foreign objects that could have entered the wound. Also clean the area around the wound, otherwise bacteria from the skin or environment around it cause an infection. Important! Do not attempt to clean very dirty cuts, bites or burns yourself. Apply a dressing to protect the wound and stop any bleeding and seek medical assistance. Rinse the wound with lukewarm running water until all the dirt has been removed. If you have a wound cleaning fluid such as Desivon, you can also use this. Dry the skin around the wound with a clean dressing or cotton wool.
What happens when a cut heals?
The human body tries to repair cuts and sores in a number of ingenious ways. Bleeding is stopped by the release of fibrinogen from blood cells that is converted into fibrin that forms a “mesh” over the wound site. This mesh traps blood platelets and red blood cells that coagulate into a natural plug – a scab. White blood cells race to the wound site to take care of bacteria. At this point, the skin around the wound site can become a bit red – an inflammation has developed, the way the human body normally heals a wound. If there is too much bacteria present or if the bacteria are particularly vigorous, the wound can become infected . In which case the skin becomes an angry red, swollen and tender. The wound starts to weep and sometimes a pustule can be formed. Red marks around the local lymph glands, swollen and tender lymph glands and/or fever are serious signs that the infection has spread. If there are only minor signs of infection around a minor wound, this can be treated with dressings soaked in disinfectant.
Moist wounds heal faster
We now know that wounds can heal far faster in moist rather than a dry and airy environment. New cells form more quickly in moist environments and the risk of scar formation and infection is reduced. A special plaster made of an extremely thin and pliable material is now available that seals in the wound and acts as a second skin in place of a scab. You can even take a shower or bath wearing this type of plaster as it is 100% waterproof. However you need to take extra care when cleaning the wound and never put the plaster on an already infected wound.
A graze occurs when part of the surface of the skin is scraped off. Rinse away any dirt and wash the wound carefully. If the graze is superficial, dry and looks fine after cleaning, simply cover it with a plaster for protection. If it is a deep graze that is painful it is best to stick a plaster or an ordinary dressing held in place with surgical tape over it. Important! Swelling and redness around a wound are signs that it has become infected. Other symptoms are throbbing pain and local hotness around the wound. If the patient is a child who feels poorly and develops a fever, seek medical assistance.
It is easy to suffer a minor cut that bleeds profusely. Such as cutting yourself with a kitchen knife or on broken glass. First rinse the cut clean and press the edges together. Elevate the injured area and apply pressure to it with the aid of a clean dressing or cotton wool until the bleeding stops. Try to pull together the edges of the cut by sticking a plaster on one side of the wound and then pulling it over the cut. You can sometimes close the edges of the cut with some surgical tape. Leave the plaster/tape in place for a few days to give the cut a chance to heal.
If it is a deep cut, especially if it is on your hands, you should always seek medical assistance. A deep cut should be stitched within 6 hours. If you have cut yourself in the hand or on a finger, close to a joint or tendon, you need to check you can move all the joints in your fingers. If this is very painful, or if you cannot move your joints, seek medical assistance immediately.
If a plaster is not sufficient, put one or more dressings over the cut. Fix the dressing with surgical tape or fabric tape. If necessary use a gauze bandage over the dressing for further support.
Large bleeding wounds
It is important to stop the bleeding and get to a hospital or clinic quickly. Lay the injured person down. Lift the injured part of the body and keep it in an elevated position. Stop the bleeding with a compression bandage around the wound – a first aid dressing – or length of cotton rolled rightly into a dressing. Wrap an elasticated gauze bandage around the compression dressing, but not too tightly. Hold the dressing in place with surgical tape or clips. If the bleeding continues, press down on the dressing with your hand.
A good way of preventing and treating blisters is to protect vulnerable points with Foot Care – blister plasters. Leave the plaster in place until it comes off by itself. Important, always clean and dry blisters carefully. Do not prick a blister as this can easily lead to an infection.