Growing up means becoming increasingly adventurous, independent and mobile. Unfortunately, this makes bumps, scrapes and bruises ever more likely. First aid courses often prioritise life-threatening topics, but it is important to know the best way to treat everyday cuts and scrapes too.
Grazes are superficial injuries caused by some of the skin being scraped off, leaving a dirty wound. It is never a priority to clean the wound immediately, usually it can be patched up short term with a plaster and then cleaned properly later once you are somewhere where you can wash your hands, wear gloves and use gauze and water or non-alcohol wipes to clean it thoroughly.
- Clean the wound from the inside out and throw away the wipe.
- Repeat this until the wound is completely clean and devoid of any grit or mud.
- Apply a non-adherent dressing pad, shiny side down onto the wound and secure with medical tape or Micropore.
The dressing can be removed at night to allow the air to get to the wound. Avoid soaking in a bath or going swimming until the wound has healed properly.
Wounds with Objects Embedded in Them
If something is embedded in a wound, generally it shouldn’t be removed, the exception to this is a splinter.
Making a donut ring to avoid impacting an embedded object
- Do not remove anything embedded in a wound as it will have caused damage on the way in and will cause more damage again on the way out! It may also be stemming any bleeding.
- Use a rolled cloth or triangular bandage to make a donut ring (above).
- Apply pressure over the wound without pushing the object further in.
- Get medical help and they will remove it under sterile conditions. If there is glass in the wound they may need to x-ray to check to ensure they remove it all.
Removing a Splinter
To remove splinters you should wash the wound with warm, soapy water, then use a clean pair of tweezers to firmly grip the splinter and remove it, the same direction as it went in. Squeeze the wound slightly to ensure the splinter is completely out and to encourage a small amount of bleeding to expel any dirt. Ensure their tetanus is up to date.
Bruises are bleeding under the skin. Apply a wrapped ice pack for 10 minutes to reduce swelling. After that bruises generally take a couple of weeks to disappear.
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First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken on this information.