- Wound care algorithm
- Stop the bleeding
- Thoroughly wash the wound
- We apply an antibiotic
- We apply a bandage
- Scratches and cuts on the face
- Cuts on hands and feet
- Cuts and scrapes on the knuckles, fingers and heels
- Scratches and abrasions on the body
- Abrasions on knees and elbows
- small burns
- Memo for contacting the emergency room
Wound care algorithm
No matter how trite it may sound, but before touching the wound and resorting to its treatment, you must thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. Unfortunately, many of us, when faced with the stress of providing first aid, forget this simple and very important step.
Stop the bleeding
If you have a bleeding wound, don’t panic! Most small cuts and abrasions stop bleeding fairly quickly. Moreover, the blood contributes to the self-cleaning of the wound.
On your own, this process can be stopped by clamping the wound with a sterile bandage, gauze or a special swab.
If the bandage becomes soaked with blood, apply another one directly on top of the old one without removing it, otherwise you may accidentally open the wound and provoke new bleeding.
Thoroughly wash the wound
The best way to clean a wound and prevent infection is to rinse thoroughly with cool tap water for at least 5 minutes. As paradoxical as it may sound, using antiseptics such as hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol to cleanse a wound can severely burn already damaged skin and slow down the healing process.
Gently clean the area around the wound with soapy water and remove visible debris or splinters with pre-disinfected tweezers. Then gently pat your skin dry with a clean towel.
We apply an antibiotic
Antibacterial creams and ointments not only protect the wound from infection, but also keep it moist and prevent it from drying out. The ointment should be applied in a thin layer. If a rash appears after applying the antibiotic, then its use should be discontinued.
We apply a bandage
After a cut or abrasion, our body starts an immediate healing process. The white blood cells begin to attack the infection-causing bacteria. Platelets and fibrin create a jelly-like clot over the wound, which is soon covered with a protective crust. To speed up the healing process, it is very important to keep this scab intact by protecting it with a plaster or bandage.
The type of patch or bandage, and how they are applied, will depend on the nature and location of the wound.
Scratches and cuts on the face
Small wounds on the face are not as scary as they might seem at first glance. Due to the abundance of blood vessels, they can bleed heavily. However, do not worry, after you stop the bleeding, you will either need a very thin band-aid, or you can do without a band-aid at all. However, in some cases, in order to avoid infection or improper scarring of tissues, it is better to consult a specialist for suturing. They may be needed if you have a very deep or long cut, more than one and a half centimeters, or if the wound was caused by a jagged object.
Cuts on hands and feet
Hands and feet are more prone to contamination than other parts of the body, so even small cuts and wounds in these areas must be covered. For this purpose, bactericidal patches are best suited, which are most often produced in the form of strips. They usually have a fabric or gauze surface impregnated with an antibacterial component. In addition to their antiseptic effect, such patches will help protect the wound from rubbing with socks or shoes.
It is desirable to change bactericidal daily, as well as in case of getting wet or dirty. For deep cuts and stabbing wounds, seek professional help.
Cuts and scrapes on the knuckles, fingers and heels
Due to their excessive mobility, wounds on the knuckles and fingers are not always easy to treat. Whereas in such open places, the infection is easiest to penetrate into the wound. Hourglass-shaped or H-shaped patches wrap easily around the fingertip and also securely adhere to the knuckles.
Scratches and abrasions on the body
If your scratches and abrasions are located on the area of the body that will be in contact with clothing, it is best to seal it with adhesive tape. If damaged, the uncovered crust that forms on the scratch during healing can become a gateway for infection. Cellulose-based patches are best suited for this purpose. They do not irritate the skin, do not leave marks, are hypoallergenic and peel off easily. Although cellulose patches can stay on the skin for up to 7 days, doctors recommend changing them daily to prevent infection.
Some people are sensitive to the adhesive on the patch or latex. So if the patch starts to itch, blister, or burn, you may be allergic to one of the tape’s ingredients. For sensitive skin, just use a bandage instead of a band-aid.
Abrasions on knees and elbows
Putting a patch or bandage on the skin of your elbows or knees can be extremely uncomfortable. For this purpose, large adhesive plasters with “wings” based on polymer fibers are the best suited. They have reliable fixation and elasticity, which allows them to “hug” the joint at the bend without causing discomfort. If you want to save time, then liquid medical glue can be an alternative to the patch. It not only stops bleeding, but also protects the wound from dirt and water. Unlike conventional adhesive plaster, medical glue has a moisture-resistant effect. Its film reliably closes the wound and does not cause allergies.
In case of serious burns – on the face, hands, feet, genitals or when the area of the burnt surface is more than 5 cm, you should seek medical help as soon as possible.
To treat a minor burn, cool the injured area under running cool water. With the help of such active cooling, the skin ceases to retain heat, thereby preventing the spread of the burn. However, this method will only be effective in the first 20 minutes after injury. Immersion under a stream of cold water should be within 20 minutes, and the water temperature is about 15 degrees. Never use ice water, as it can aggravate an existing burn and cause an additional one.
After the skin has completely cooled, clean the burn with soapy water and apply a thin layer of antibacterial ointment to it.
In the event of blistering, to protect the burn surface, apply a sterile, non-adherent gauze dressing designed specifically for burns. This dressing absorbs liquid from the wound well and protects it from external infections. Today it can be freely bought in almost any pharmacy.
Never lubricate a burn with oil or grease, as is sometimes recommended in folk medicine, and even more so do not sprinkle it with powder.
Applying oil or ice to a burn instead of helping will backfire and cause subsequent damage to the skin.
No matter how insignificant the wound may seem to you and no matter how quickly it heals, no one is immune from the risk of infection. Even a small scratch with the most adequate care can become infected. Therefore, it is very important to know the signs of infection and, in case of their occurrence, immediately consult a doctor.
The following symptoms, appearing in combination or individually, can be a sure sign of infection:
- Redness and swelling of the skin around the wound
- Intense pain or skin tenderness extending beyond the wound
- Thick, grayish, yellow, or green fluid that oozes from a wound
- Temperature above 38 degrees
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, armpits and groin, accompanied by brittleness, chills and fever
Memo for contacting the emergency room
- The wound does not stop bleeding within 5-10 minutes after clamping
- The cut is deeper and longer than one and a half centimeters
- The wound is located near the eye
- Gaping, laceration, or puncture wound
- A wound caused by a dirty or rusty object
- Dirt or sand stuck in the wound and cannot be cleaned
- Wound caused by a dog or human bite
- You received a tetanus shot more than 5 years ago
Text: Elizaveta Petrova
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