wound care

Here are some tips for proper care of minor wounds:

Seek Medical Attention

If your child's wound involves any of these circumsances, you should follow the instructions for cleansing the wound and call your physician:

  • Stick with a hypodermic needle
  • Any bite, animal or human
  • Any injury caused by contact with another person's mouth or teeth
  • Scratches from pets, especially cats
  • A cut more than 1 inch long on the hand or more than 2 inches long anywhere else on the body; if you can see yellow fatty tissue in a cut of any length, you should contact your physician
  • Any burn larger that a half-dollar in diameter or a burn with a blackened area
  • Any wound in which you see dirt, gravel, splinters, grass, etc. even after cleaning
  • Any wound that continues to bleed despite direct pressure

Cleansing Wounds

Even minor wounds should be properly cleansed to minimize the risk of infection.

  • Wash your own hands thoroughly first before cleaning and treating a wound
  • Run clean, lukewarm water over the wound to remove any visible dirt, sand, or gravel. Wounds such as knee and elbow scrapes from falls in the driveway or street may require a stroger stream of water as in the shower.
  • Do not use harsh detergents or chemicals such as bleaches to disinfect the wound. If the would is dirty you may luse a milkd liquid soap, appliesd gently with a gauze pad or clean, smooth cloth. Thoroughly rinse to remove all traces of soap.
  • Do not use a brush or rough cloth to cleanse wounds. This can damage the tissue further and increase the risk of infection.

Dressing the Wound

Allow the wound and surrounding skin to

  • air dry, then
  • apply an antibiotic ointment or cream.
Wounds heal faster with less scarring if they are allowed to heal without a scab; they should be covered and an combination ointment that contains antibiotics such as neomycin and bacitracin should be applied. Cover the wound with a bandage. Strip bandages ("bandaids") are good for fingers; square or rectangular bandages with adhesive on all four sides are good for other areas such as knees and elbows. The key is to keep the wound protected and clean.

Contact Your Doctor

You should call your doctor if

  • there is pain in the wound or around it
  • there is redness, warmth, or swelling in the area around the wound
  • there is numbness in the area around the wound
  • fever
  • pus drains from the wound
  • a blackened area at the center of the wound

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