7 things you should do when you get cut
Ironman or other superhero type people might be able to avoid injury but for thousands of Americans, cuts and scrapes are a daily event. The Bureau of Labor & Statistics reported there were over 70,000 cuts (lacerations) that caused days away from work. Based on these statistics and our personal experience, sooner or later we will cut ourselves. When we do get cut, the Mayo Clinic recommends these 7 things you should do right away.
1. Stop the Bleeding
When treating a cut, stopping blood loss is extremely important. Apply consistent pressure using a clean cloth or a sterile bandage if available. If you have a first aid kit, use folded gauze pads or a blood stopping bandage. Serious lacerations should apply pressure for 20 - 30 minutes, allowing blood to clot. If you continue to bleed seek medical attention immediately.
2. Clean the wound site
After the bleeding has stopped, clean the wound with water. Avoid cleansers or soaps as these can irritate the skin or wound site.
3. Apply an Antibiotic ointment
After the bleeding has stopped and the wound has been cleaned, apply antibiotic ointment. This will not only keep the surface moist but will prevent minor bacterial skin infections. Name brands like Neosporin work fine but there are also generic ointments that do the same thing for a lot less.
4. Cover and protect the wound
Bandages do several things including protecting the wound from dirt. They also provide protection from bumping or exposing the wound site to dirt or bacteria. Bandages also absorb fluids that may drain or weep from the wound site. Be sure to change the dressing regularly if it becomes soiled, wet or dirty.
5. Watch for Infection
Even when we do all of the right things while we treat our wounds, they can still get infected. Watch your wound for infection which can include redness, pain, swelling, drainage or a warm feeling. See our list of when you should call your doctor after you get cut below.
6. Get a tetanus shot
If you can't remember the last time you got a tetanus shot, you probably need to get one. Doctors recommend getting one every 10 years or so. You wound may require getting a tetanus booster so be on alert for pain, swelling or other signs of infection.
7. As recommended by FamilyDoctor.org, seek medical attention if any of the following occur:
- The wound is jagged
- The wound is on your face
- The edges of the cut gape open
- The cut has dirt in it that won't come out
- The cut becomes tender or inflamed
- The cut drains a thick, creamy, grayish fluid
- You start to run a temperature over 100°F
- The area around the wound feels numb
- You can't move comfortably
Red streaks form near the wound
- It's a puncture wound or a deep cut and you haven't had a tetanus shot in the past 5 years
- The cut bleeds in spurts, blood soaks through the bandage or the bleeding doesn't stop after 20 minutes of firm, direct pressure
As mentioned above, keeping a fully stocked first aid kit on hand and ready to use will help treat your cuts and scraped quickly. Modest kits that have all of the necessary supplies can cost as little as a few dollars. Be prepared for cuts and scrapes this year and follow the 7 steps when you get cut.
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