If a minor cut or scrape is the only injury and the body is not susceptible to infection, a trip to the doctor and a tetanus shot may not be required. However, the injury may be painful and it should be cleaned and treated at home to prevent an infection and promote healing. Whether a cut or scrape is sustained while working in the garden or playing with the family dog, learn how to treat it.
Wearing gloves while administering treatment and washing hands after the procedure is over are recommended when bodily fluids or blood are involved. Stop bleeding by applying direct pressure to the injured area. Follow this with a five-minute cleansing period using cool water and mild soap. This will remove embedded dirt and prevent scarring and infection.
Cuts and scrapes should not be treated with straight rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide because these can slow healing and harm surrounding tissue. Instead, use a gently antiseptic spray that gets rid of germs without causing harm. An all-natural spray containing active manuka honey is a popular non-prescription product. The potent honey is mixed with tea tree and oregano oils and SD alcohol 40 to treat cuts scrapes, burns, and abrasions.
After applying this New Zealand manuka honey antiseptic, determine whether the wound should be covered with a bandage to keep dirt away. Apply a thin coating of antibiotic ointment to the wound before covering with a bandage. This prevents the bandage from adhering to the cut. Place the bandage across the cut perpendicularly, rather than lengthwise, to hold together the edges of the cut.
Keep an eye on the wound during the healing process to detect infection early. If infection occurs, have a doctor inspect it to recommend treatment. If the area surrounding the wound becomes bruised or swollen, place some ice cubes into a plastic bag and wrap a clean towel around the bag. Press the towel against the wound, elevating the area. To reduce swelling, keep the wound above or even with the heart whenever lying down or seated.
A non-prescription pain reliever can reduce discomfort if the cut becomes painful. Aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and acetaminophen are common pain relief medications. If you are or could be pregnant, use only acetaminophen and if you are younger than age 20 do not use aspirin. The wound should begin to heal within a couple of days and should be completely healed within one to two weeks.
*Photo Courtesy of Jesse Millan via Creative Commons License