Cutting yourself at home can be painful and frustrating. You know you need to care for the wound, but if you don’t know how, you can risk getting an infection. And going to the doctor can be time-consuming and expensive when you only have a small cut.
Minor cuts and scratches can be handled at home if you know the right way to do it. Read on to learn how to care for these wounds at home.
Clean the Wound
The first step to caring for a cut or scratch is to clean out the wound. You should never use alcohol to clean a wound; it will sting like crazy and won’t do anything. Instead, start by gently rinsing out the scratch by water and use soap if you have to in order to get dirt out of the wound.
You should also avoid using hydrogen peroxide in a wound, as it can destroy healthy tissue. You can use it to get debris out of a wound if you have to, but be sure to rinse it out well afterward. Check the wound to make sure there’s no dirt or debris left in the wound before you dress it.
Dress the Wound
If you’re dealing with a cut that’s still bleeding, wrap a clean towel over the top of it and apply gentle pressure to stop the bleeding. Once the bleeding has slowed down, put antiseptic cream on the wound using a clean swab. Don’t use too much, as this can cause the wound to become soupy and slow healing.
If the wound is small enough, stick an adhesive bandage over it, being sure to pull a cut closed so the edges are touching. If the wound is too big to fit under a bandage, use sterile gauze pads and medical tape. If you can’t get the edges of a cut to close or if the cut is very large or deep, go to the emergency room.
Care for the Wound
Once the wound is dressed, you can put ice on it to help deal with some of the pain. Make sure to lay a towel between the dressing and the ice pack, and never leave it on for more than twenty minutes. You can also take acetaminophen – do not take ibuprofen, Advil, or any other NSAIDs, as they increase bleeding.
Change the dressing on the wound every day or two, making sure that things are healing okay. Be sure you don’t use too much antiseptic cream, and don’t worry about white, grainy tissue in the wound; that’s a sign of healing. If the wound starts to smell or ooze or doesn’t close up well, go to the doctor.
Learn How to Care for Cuts and Scratches
Minor cuts and scratches can be dealt with at home using the right care. Make sure you keep the wound clean and change the dressing regularly. If the wound doesn’t look like it’s improving or if it starts to smell bad, go to a doctor immediately, as it could be infected.
If you need help caring for a more severe cut, come see us at Coastal Urgent Care of Houma. We have quality, convenient care when you need it, seven days a week. Check-in online and reserve your spot for a shorter wait when you arrive.