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Oh, That Cut Me Deep!

Chances are, someone you know (or maybe even yourself) are not known for being the most graceful. A cut or two is likely to happen at some point, are you prepared to handle the wound?

Family Nurse Practitioner Kim Rutledge sees plenty of scrapes, cuts and other lacerations at MHP’s Walk-In, so she’s an expert at treating them! Luckily, most small cuts and abrasions can be treated within the comforts of home, but having the proper tools on hand is key.

For minor cuts, follow these steps:

  1. Stop the bleeding: Apply constant and direct pressure until the bleeding stops. If you can’t get it stopped after 10 minutes or blood is spurting out of the wound, call 911 or get to the Emergency Department immediately! Don’t forget your gloves when working with bodily fluids to keep everyone safe from contamination.
  2. Clean the wound: Your patient is probably going to groan at this step, but don’t skip it, it’s important! Clean any debris out of the wound with clean tweezers and then rinse with cold water and mild soap for five minutes. Wait a minute, didn’t your mom used to swear by hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol or iodine? Well, turns out those can actually irritate the tissue and slow the healing process, so skip those and opt for water instead.
  3. Wrap it up: Only if it’s necessary though! Keep the dirt and dust out of open wounds, but don’t cover it up unless it’s needed. If you go with a cloth bandage, change it every time there’s water or dirt involved. For liquid bandages, make sure to follow the instructions carefully. For open wounds, keep those corners closed with adhesives and make sure the infection stays at bay!
  4. Treat the pain: If there’s lingering tenderness and pain, keep the wound elevated to reduce swelling. If needed, acetaminophen, naproxen or ibuprofen can help relieve the ache.

Remember to use your best judgment when it comes to treating injuries at home. Utilize appropriate medical care when necessary and stay well-stocked on basic first aid supplies to treat boo-boos of all sizes.

Published May 18, 2017

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