Minor cuts and grazes (where only the surface layer of skin is cut or scraped off) may bleed and feel slightly painful, but the affected area will normally scab over and heal quickly.
However, if the cut is in an area that is constantly moving, such as your knee joint, it may take longer to heal.
Depending on how deep the cut is and where it is on your body, a scar may remain once the cut has healed.
Deeper cuts may damage important structures below the skin, such as nerves, blood vessels or tendons (see
). Grazes that remove the deeper layers of skin are rare.
Most cuts and grazes can be easily treated at home. More severe cases may need medical attention, such as stitches to close the wound.
For most cuts and grazes, cleaning them thoroughly and covering them with a plaster or dressing is all that is needed.
Stopping the bleeding
If your cut or graze is bleeding heavily, or is on a particularly delicate area of your body, such as the palm of your hand, you should stop the bleeding before applying any kind of dressing.
Apply pressure to the area using a bandage or a towel. If the cut is to your hand or arm, raise it above your head. If the injury is to a lower limb, lie down and raise the affected area above the level of your heart so the bleeding slows down and stops.
To dress a cut or graze at home:
- wash and dry your hands thoroughly
- clean the wound under running tap water, but do not use antiseptic because it may damage the tissue and slow down healing
- pat the area dry with a clean towel
- apply a sterile, adhesive dressing, such as a plaster
Keep the dressing clean by changing it as often as necessary and keep the wound dry by using waterproof dressings, which allow light wetting (showering).
The wound should heal by itself in a few days. If the wound is painful, you can take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. However, you should not take ibuprofen if you have certain conditions, such as a stomach ulcer or asthma, and children under the age of 16 should not take aspirin. When taking medication, always check the packaging for recommendations regarding use and dose.
If you are unsure how serious your injury is, or if it has not healed after a few days, see your GP. Always seek medical advice if:
- your injury does not stop bleeding or is on a joint crease (go straight to an accident and emergency department if this is the case)
- your injury is very large or very deep
- your injury was caused by a bite
- there is something in your cut or graze, such as grit
This is is a syndicated post. Read the original at compasshousemedical.com