Minor cuts and scrapes usually don't need to be treated in a hospital. However, proper first aid is necessary to avoid infection or other complications.
First aid for care of simple wounds includes
- Stop bleeding: Bleeding after a small cut or scratch usually stops by itself. If bleeding persists, apply gentle pressure for about 5-10 minutes with a clean cloth or bandage. If bleeding continues beyond 5 -10 minutes, hold the pressure continuously for 20 to 30 minutes. If the bleeding is profuse or continues after pressure, seek medical help.
- Clean the wound: Wash the wound thoroughly with clear water. As soap can irritate the wound, don’t apply it directly on the wound, but you can clean the area around the wound with soap. Remove any foreign particle that is seen in the wound and if you are not able to remove it, see your doctor. The risk of infection and tetanus is reduced if the wound is cleaned well.
- Local Antibiotics: Apply an antibiotic ointment/cream on the wound after cleaning. This helps to keep the surface moist and prevents infection as well. If you are allergic to antibiotic ointments, do not use it.
- Apply bandage: Protect the wounded area, with a dry sterile gauze bandage. This helps to keep the wound clean and prevents infection. Cotton should not be used to cover the area as it can cause irritation. After the wound appears dry keep the wound open. Exposure to air promotes wound healing.
- Change of dressing: Change the dressing daily or if it appears wet or dirty.
- Stitches for wounds: Deep wounds, gaping wounds, wounds with jagged edged or wounds in which fat or muscle protrudes, need stitches. If you think the wound is deep, see your child’s pediatrician as soon as possible. Apt closure on time decreases the chance of infection.
- Watch for infection: If the wound appears red, has persistent or increasing pain, discharge, warmth or swelling, and see your doctor as soon as possible.
- Tetanus injection: If the wound appears deep or dirty, consult your child’s pediatrician as soon as possible for advice regarding tetanus injection.