Do you know the appropriate actions to take when someone has a cut, scrape or wound? Understanding wound care can help healing, recovery and prevent infection.
Identifying serious wounds
First, it’s important to recognize the signs of a truly serious wound. Call 911 if you or someone you’re with is experiencing severe bleeding, internal bleeding or an abdominal or chest wound, or if bleeding hasn’t stopped after 10 minutes of firm pressure.
How to treat a cut or scrape
Next, take appropriate steps to take to care for wounds. Your first goal is to stop the bleeding. Do this by applying pressure using a clean cloth, tissue or piece of gauze. If the blood soaks through the material of the cloth you’re using, don’t remove it. Simply add another cloth and continue to apply pressure. If the wound is on an arm or leg, raise the limb above the heart, if you can, to slow the bleeding.
Once you’ve stopped the bleeding, wash your hands and then gently clean the wound with warm water and a mild soap. Be sure to rinse all the soap out of the wound to avoid irritation. Don’t use harsh chemicals like hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol, which can damage the tissue and slow the healing process.
Finally, protect the wound by keeping it moist and covered. Apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment and cover it with a sterile bandage. Change the bandage daily to keep the wound clean.
How to treat a burn
Burns require a few different steps. To treat a burn, cool the area immediately with a cold cloth or cool water. This prevents your skin from holding onto the heat and continuing to burn. Wash the burn with soap and water and bandage it lightly. If blisters appear, leave them alone. Blisters help protect your skin as it heals.
With any wound, there’s always the possibility that an infection may develop. If you notice skin redness spreading out from the wound, swelling, yellow or green fluid or increased tenderness around the wound, call your healthcare provider. You should also call your primary care provider if you have a wound that won't heal.
Reach out to the Goshen Health Wound Center to learn more about their approach to advanced wound care for non-healing wounds.