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First Aid at Home

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Friday, September 16, 2011

First Aid at Home


A lot of the questions I am asked about by friends are in regards to taking care of cuts, abrasions, and minor burns that occur at home, no need for a visit to the ED, but what should I do to treat it?  I always have people describe or send me pictures of their injuries so that I can help them figure out the best treatment that they can use at home.  So I want to help you know how to perform first aid at home AND what to have stocked in your first aid kit (which for me happens to be half of my linen closet!)

Abrasions, Cuts, and Scrapes:
Cut injuries are very common amongst all people.  But abrasions and scrapes are more common injuries  in children and people who are athletes or play sports and is usually caused by falling and scraping a knee, tripping and scraping an arm, or from sliding into a base (baseball). Basically any injury in which you fall or slide, you are going to have an abrasion or scrape, and if it is falling off a bike (or motorcycle) it is known as "road rash".  Most of the time, these are shallow and only take off a few layers of dermis (skin layers) and they don't bleed too much, but they can be very painful and or irritating during the healing stage, they almost feel like a burn.



 What to do?
Clean the area with fresh water and an antibacterial soap, just to make sure all dirt and debris is washed out of the area. The area may appears to increase in bleeding while you wash, just because the water is flushing out the area, but you really aren't.  

To stop the bleeding of a cut, hold gentle pressure for about 5 minutes to the cut- don't peek to see if it has stopped bleeding earlier because that may reopen the clot that was forming to stop the bleeding (although I know how tempting it is!) 

You should stay away from Hydrogen Peroxide as it is found to actually kill off healthy tissues and may actually lead to an increased risk of infection, but instead use a thin layer of an antibiotic ointment such as Bacitracin (an alternative treatment is Antiseptic Healing Ointment by Brave Soldier which is all natural ingredients such as tea tree oil and aloe), and cover the area with an occlusive dressing, such as a large Band Aid, and ensure that the adhesive is only sticking to areas of skin that is healthy.  

Change the dressing every time it gets really wet (after showering or swimming) and once the area is no longer weeping or draining any fluids, leave it without a band aid and just use a thin layer of antibiotic ointment. Only cover the wound if there is any risk of something rubbing it or scraping against it, that might reopen the wound or get stuck in the wound bed (like bits of clothing).  A moist occlusive dressing helps to promote wound healing, while preventing bacteria from entering it.  Once the area
 starts healing, keeping it open to air with antibacterial ointment to prevent an infection.  

When should I go to an HCP?
If the cut is more than 1/4inch (or 6 millimeters approximately) you should go to an HCP to get the wound looked at and possible stitches.  If the edges of the cut are jagged or there is fat or other tissue protruding from the cut, it needs to be seen and most often sutured back together.  Especially if you are woozy or nervous about a cut, it is better to have it seen and disinfected by a professional then to try to clean it and risk infection at home.

Signs of Infection:
You should call your HCP or go see them immediately if you notice that the wound isn't healing at all, if there is smelly thick drainage, increased pain, if the area is reddened or swollen, or if you just don't think it looks right.


 Also, it is a good idea if it is a deep cut to get a tetanus booster.  You should get one every 10 years, but if it has been a while, then you might as well get one....no one ever remembers when their last tetanus shot was!  Remember always to keep it clean, and if the bleeding doesn't slow or stop quickly, just go to an emergency clinic.

Yours in Good Health
B

2 Comments:

At September 22, 2011 at 1:07 AM , Anonymous beauty said...

This blog always create some informational and amazing things, which add in my knowledge and experience.But I am a bit confuse. Thanks for sharing.Waiting for next post.

 
At February 6, 2012 at 7:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the blog! Now where can I find one location for all my at home first aid? I do not wish to surf the internet for an hour (like today), to figure out what to do. Especially when most of the sites that come up first in a search engine have alternate motives for their information. I've asked my doctor, and he implied that for every little thing I should see him - well, he isn't open on Sundays, for example. I've asked my pharmacist and he says he doesn't know. My mother taught me nothing. When my 10 year old daughter is in pain, one hour on the computer is too much.

 

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