4 Steps to Basic Wound Care

Every household should have a basic first aid kit. Minor scrapes, cuts, and bruises are part of everyday life, and being able to treat these injuries appropriately can prevent a trip to the doctor. Here are four wound care tips that everyone should follow when they accidentally cut themselves:

1. Take note of what injured you.

In most cases, you can treat minor cuts at home, but there are a few situations when you should see a doctor to prevent a tetanus infection. If the object that injured you is rusty or otherwise dirty, you should go to the doctor for a tetanus shot if you haven't had one in over five years. If you were injured by a kitchen knife or another clean object, you only have to visit the doctor if it's been longer than ten years since your last tetanus shot.

2. Clean the wound.

You will need to clean the wound to wash away bacteria and debris. Use clean running water to thoroughly rinse your cut. Don't apply hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to the cut. These substances will do more harm than good, by damaging the healthy tissue and inhibiting healing. If there is grit or dirt inside the wound, carefully clean it away using a washcloth.

3. Apply antibiotic ointment.

There is always a risk of infection when you get a cut, but you can minimize it by applying an antibiotic ointment to the wound. After your wound is clean, blot it dry using a paper towel. Next, apply a thin layer of antibiotic cream. Avoid touching the tube of ointment directly to your cut, since this can contaminate it. Many antibiotic ointments also contain a topical anesthetic which should alleviate some of the pain of your injury.

4. Cover the cut with a bandage.

Adhesive bandages allow you to keep your wound clean and protected so it can heal properly. Some people dislike using bandages because the adhesive sticks to their skin and causes pain upon removal. If you have sensitive skin, there are painless bandages you can take advantage of. Painless bandages are usually made without latex, which makes them safe for people with latex allergies. They're made using a less powerful adhesive, which will allow you to remove the bandage without discomfort. Painless bandages come in various sizes, so they can be applied to large or small cuts. Contact bandage suppliers to learn more.