Cuts and Wounds
Although it’s not usually a serious medical ailment, a cut should be treated immediately to prevent the risk of infections or complications. Urgentmed urgent care physicians can help you address both surface and serious cuts before they worsen. They can also provide advice on how to wash and apply ointment when you’re at home, and how to regularly change dressing. Here are several suggestions on how to care for a cut.
Initial Treatment of the Wound
You shouldn’t touch the cut with dirty hands, so wash them with soap and water before attempting to treat the wound. Ensure to wash under your fingernails and at the back of your hands. It’s also a good idea to put disposable gloves on if you have them as this can help prevent infection. In most cases, the cut should stop bleeding on its own. If this is not the case, control the bleeding by applying direct pressure on the cut, using a sterile gauze or a clean cloth. While applying pressure, elevate the wound and press gently.
Clean the cut and remove as much dirt as possible. Use an antibacterial soap, water and a washcloth to clean the wound. Antibacterial soap is good enough. Using substances such as iodine or hydrogen peroxide could irritate the wound. After drying the wound, apply an antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin or Neosporin, to prevent infection. These products don’t make the wound heal faster, they are only meant to prevent infection. However, antibiotic ointments could cause a rash in some people, thus if this happens, stop using the ointment.
Change the dressing regularly to prevent moisture and infection from entering the cut. Find out if you’re allergic to the adhesives found in bandages and use an adhesive-free bandage or a sterile gauze. The bandage can be secured in place with paper tape. Before changing the bandage, wash the cut thoroughly and gently with water to prevent further infection. Always use water and soap, taking care to avoid using substances like iodine and hydrogen peroxide.
Don’t pick the scab forming above the wound. It’s meant to protect the wound and removing it can prolong the healing process and leave a scar. Try clipping your nails short, wearing gloves or find an engaging activity if you have trouble resisting the temptation to pick at the scab.
Coping With Complications
There are certain circumstances that will force you to go to an urgent care or emergency room. For example, skin that separates far enough that you can push it together, the wound doesn’t stop bleeding, or a wound made by a high impact object such as a bullet, should be taken to an ER. Furthermore, seek medical attention if the wound was caused by a human or animal bite, if a rusty object cut you, or if the cut is located across a joint.
Check your vaccination records and see if you’re up to date with your tetanus vaccination. Make an appointment to get a tetanus shot if you haven’t had one in five years. Keep watching for signs of infection such as redness of the skin, increased pain in the wound, a yellow-greenish discharge or pus, swelling, and warmth in the wound. They all indicate an infection. Make an appointment with your doctor if the cut shows signs of infection.