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First Aid Basics: First Aid for Minor Cuts and Scrapes

September 21, 2015 | Dr. Mary Williams, RN, DC | Comments

First Aid Basics: First Aid for Minor Cuts and Scrapes

One of the best things to have in your home is a first aid kit for treating scrapes and cuts. No matter how careful you are, accidents are bound to happen! By learning basic first aid for scrapes and keeping a stocked kit, you can avoid unnecessary medical bills and be prepared in case of a minor emergency.

How to Treat Cuts and Scrapes

Learning first aid for scrapes and cuts is easy, but it must be performed immediately to prevent the wound from getting infected. When you or someone you know receives a minor cut or scrape, jump into action with these simple steps:

  1. Stop the Bleeding: Before you can assess the wound, you will need to stop any excess bleeding. The best way to do this is by applying firm pressure to the wound with a clean paper towel, cloth, or piece of gauze for up to 30 minutes. If the wound is on an arm or leg, raising the limb above your heart will help to slow the bleeding. If the wound is still bleeding heavily after 20 or 30 minutes, you might need to visit the ER.
  2. Assess the Wound: Once the bleeding has stopped or significantly slowed down, look at the wound and take note of how deep it is. Minor cuts can be easily treated at home, but gaping cuts or cuts with jagged edges will need to be professionally stitched. If the wound appears deep and is on your face, visiting the doctor is the best way to avoid a scar.
  3. Clean the Area: When treating scrapes, it is very important to thoroughly clean the wound before applying a bandage. Hold the wound under cool, running water and wash it gently with a washcloth and soap. Dip tweezers in isopropyl alcohol and remove any debris that might be stuck. If dirt or debris appears to be trapped in the wound and will not come out, a trip to the doctor will be necessary.
  4. Apply Ointment and Bandages: If the wound is in a place that is likely to get dirty or irritated (such as the hand or knee), it is a good idea to cover it with a bandage. Otherwise, leaving a wound uncovered will help it heal faster. Make sure to change the bandage daily (or every few hours if bleeding is persistent) and keep it clean and dry. Antibiotic ointment can be used to keep the wound moist and help prevent scarring.

You are unlikely to run into trouble while performing first aid for cuts and scrapes at home, but every now and then, a wound may become infected and need medical attention. Make sure to call your doctor if the wound becomes tender and inflamed or drains thick fluid, if red streaks develop around the area, or if you begin running a fever over 100 degrees.

It’s a great idea to keep a first aid kit for cuts and scrapes in your home that you can easily grab during a minor emergency. Every first aid kit should include these items:

  • Tweezers
  • Bandages (small and large Band-Aids, gauze, tape)
  • Alcohol wipes or spray
  • Sterile saline solution
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Pain relievers

First Aid Classes with CPR Certified

At CPR Certified, we offer an easy way to receive your first aid certification or recertification through our selection of online courses. Our classes are taught by professional, AHA-certified instructors who will guide you through the treatment of minor cuts, scrapes, burns, sprains, and stings. Online classes are a great choice for busy people because you can learn at your own pace! If you have any questions or concerns about our programs, please feel free to contact us any time.


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