The skin is a vital organ in the body and any minor injuries can become fatal if no early treatment is provided. It is necessary to learn how to perform first aid at home in case you need to attend to a minor accident. Health experts recommend keeping one full-sized kit in a central spot at home where it can be accessed easily when needed. While some cuts and burns can be safely treated at home, large gaping cuts or wounds that will not stop bleeding may require medical treatment. This article looks at quick ways to treat burns, cuts, and sutures.
- Cool and Clean the Burn
The first step is to cool the burn with a gauze soaked in saline solution or use room temperature water. Avoid ice on a fresh burn as it could cause frostbite and damage the top layers of the skin. It is always a good idea to keep a gauze and saline wash supplies in your home medicine chest as it could come handy if you get burned. Gently clean the area after cooling your burn to remove any dead cells on your skin.
Minor and superficial burns may not require an antibiotic ointment if the skin is still intact. You can dress the wound in gauze to speed up the healing process. However, antibiotic treatment can come in handy during serious burns where the skin is broken or no longer intact. If you are dealing with complicated burns, we recommend asking your doctor for a prescription antibiotic.
- Cover the Wound
Basic dressing for burns starts with applying a topical antibiotic ointment if needed. The wound should then be covered with a non-stick gauze soaked in the saline wash. Minor burns require a simple gauze but you can always opt for treated gauze if you prefer more protection. It prevents bacterial infections by creating a barrier to the outside air.
The treatment for burns caused by fire or chemical products depends on its level of severity and surface area covered. Minor burns can be treated at home and always heal in a couple of weeks. However, serious burns causing extreme pain may require medical attention to prevent further health complications.
Treating Cuts and Scrapes
- Clean with Saline
In case you get hurt when going about your daily activities, the first step is to clean your wound with a saline wash. However, tap water can also be an alternative if you do not have any normal saline wound washes. It is recommended to avoid antiseptic solutions like hydrogen peroxide and chlorhexidine when washing cuts and scrapes. Although they may provide little benefit against bacterial infections, they slow healing and may cause damage to your skin.
- Cover the Wound
If you do not need any stitches, it is important to cover your wound as it heals quickly than wounds left open. Wounds that are covered up not only heal faster than dry cuts but also results in less scarring. Use saline wash to moisten the gauze before placing it onto the wound. Add a second layer of gauze before finishing it with a final layer of surgical tape.
How to Treat Sutures
Sutures are also known as stitches and they are the most commonly used method of repairing cuts or gaping wounds. A dirty wound that is contaminated is sometimes left alone for a few days with a plan to repair it later with loose stitches. This helps to prevent the wound from being infected by contaminating pathogens underneath the sutures.
Suture material can be either absorbable or non-absorbable. Absorbable sutures usually dissolve after some time during the healing process. Non-absorbable sutures need to be removed after some time as specified by the doctor. The first step to treating sutures is to keep the wound clean and dry as possible. It should never soak or get immersed in water as it slows down the recovery process.
Original bandages need to be left on the wound for the first 24 hours and it is advisable to rinse or shower rather than bathing to avoid soaking the wound. Remove the bandages after the first day and gently cleanse the wound with mild soap and water. It is important to clean your suture twice a day to prevent debris buildup and make it easier during suture removal.
If a wound is deep, oozing blood, or is in a sensitive or cosmetically important area, it is important to seek medical help or visit an urgent care facility. Keep in mind that wounds and sutured areas may scar depending on their level of severity and treatment method. It is essential to keep a full medical kit handy in an accessible location, as it is very useful in treating minor injuries at home.