It’s not fun to think about getting hurt. Whether it’s a family member’s cut or your own injury, you’d rather hope for the best.
Yet wounds do happen, and being prepared for that occasion can ensure they get the best care when necessary.
Many wounds can be treated at home. Take a look below for our ultimate guide to DIY wound care treatment.
Evaluate the Wound
Before you attempt any wound treatment at home, check to see whether it needs medical attention. Open wounds with significant bleeding are severe and should be treated by a medical professional.
If you have to go to an urgent care facility or emergency room, be sure you keep the wound above heart level if possible. This will slow the bleeding as you travel.
Wound Care Treatment for Cuts and Abrasions
The first step for treating cuts is stopping the bleeding. Use gauze or a clean cloth to apply pressure to the wound. This helps the blood clot and staunch the bleeding.
Next, you need to make sure the wound is clean. Don’t use peroxide or rubbing alcohol, as these can actually delay the healing process. Instead, rinse under clean water for several minutes.
You can also use mild soap with water to wash the wound.
Once your cut is clean, apply antibiotic ointment to the area. Be sure you only use a thin layer. Antibiotics can help prevent infections.
Next, you’ll need to close the wound to speed healing and prevent dirt and debris from getting in the wound. Apply a clean bandage to the area. Butterfly bandages can be used at home for deeper wounds if you’re able to stop the bleeding.
Often a doctor will use butterfly bandages at the ER, rather than stitches. Butterfly bandages shouldn’t be used if the wound is jagged or at a joint where it will be under tension when you bend. Any wound deep enough where you can see fat or muscle or bone should be cared for by a professional.
If you have a wound from an animal, don’t attempt home wound care. Instead, seek medical help. You’ll probably need a tetanus shot and antibiotics.
Medication and Further Care
You can take an over-the-counter medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help reduce inflammation and pain. Don’t take aspirin because it’s a blood thinner, and it can increase bleeding or make it start again.
Continue changing the bandage every day (wash your hands first). Check for signs of infection, and apply antibiotic ointment each time you change the dressing. Watch for oozing or pus, blisters, and fever, which can indicate that the wound has become infected.
If you suspect a wound is infected, seek medical attention. Don’t attempt to treat infected cuts at home. In addition to proper medications, they can also use other techniques like a multi-layer dressing to help treat the problem.
Beginning to Heal
Minor injuries like cuts and scrapes are fine to treat at home. Wound care treatment requires the right supplies, like antibiotic ointment and bandages. Some deeper cuts benefit from butterfly bandages.
For serious injuries, seek immediate medical attention, rather than attempting at-home care.
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