Tips of treating a cut
Updated: Nov 9, 2021
Tips of treating a cut
A cut is an injury where the skin is torn open or broken, and the connective tissue elements are separated. Unlike an abrasion where the wound is caused by friction, and the skin is removed, the skin in a cut is not removed or scraped off; it is just separated. Cuts are usually seen as wounds that are caused by sharp objects such as scissors or knives.
Although it could be covered in blood, a cut is one of the easiest diagnosed medical conditions. If the cut is deep, it might show some underlying tissues like tendon, fat, bone, or muscle. Cuts from sharp knives or pieces of glass are quite common, and they often happen when people are preparing a meal, crafting, or even washing dishes.
So whether you cut your hand in your kitchen or something sharp cuts accidentally cuts somewhere else, depending on how severe the injury is, you might be able to treat yourself, or you would need to visit the emergency department. For treating cuts and scrapes, you can follow the tips listed out below:
Stop the bleeding. This is the first thing to do if you have a cut. Apply gentle pressure on the cut or scrape continuously using a bandage or clean cloth for about 20 to 30 minutes. If it is possible, raise that part of your body above your heart level. Once you start applying pressure, do not remove the dressing repeatedly to check on the cut, as doing so might damage the clot that is being formed. There is a normal mechanism for the body to clot, so when pressure is applied and then the dressing is removed, a clot has been dislodged, leading to more bleeding. If the blood from the cut keeps flowing, then seek medical help.
Clean the wound. There is a tendency for every wound to get infected. So after you have stopped the bleeding by applying pressure, rinse the area out with water. Do not use soap as this might irritate. Cleaning the cut thoroughly helps to reduce the risk of tetanus and infection. You should make use of tap water as there are studies that show that using tap water for the cleaning was as effective as when sterile saline was used.
Apply an antibiotic. After cleaning the wound, apply an antibiotic cream, but just a thin layer of it. This will help to keep the surface of the cut moist. Many people use Neosporin, and although the antibiotic does not clean the wound or even affect the healing process, it will minimize the chance of an infection.
Cover the cut. Once you have cleaned up the wound and applied the thin layer of antibiotic cream, you should dress it with a sterile bandage. The bandages can help to keep the wound clean and keep bacteria away.
Change the dressing regularly. It is good to frequently change the dressing. If the wound is still draining, change the dressing whenever it gets wet or dirty, but if the wound is dry, then changing it once a day would be okay.
If needed, get stitches. If the cut is up to 6 mm deep and it is jagged or gaping, then you would likely need stitches. Go see a doctor immediately as proper closure of the cut within a few hours helps to reduce the risk of infection.
Watch out for signs of infection. As every cut carries a risk of infection, keep an eye on the wound for any change. Signs of infection include redness, pus or drainage, swelling, and excessive pain.
Get a tetanus shot. Doctors recommend that you get tetanus shot every ten years. If you get a cut, you want to ensure that you have had a tetanus shot in the last five years to minimize the chances of an infection, and deep cuts might make your doctor recommend a tetanus shot booster.
In terms of the risk of an infection, it depends on the mechanism of the cut. For example, a cut on your hand that was caused by a rusty, dirty nail has a higher possibility of getting infected than a cut on your upper thigh that was caused by a clean knife.
Although cuts are simple to diagnose and treat, taking good care of the wound will help to prevent any further complications.