Cuts and bruises are among some of the most common injuries. Whether you suddenly hear a sharp yell from the kitchen and you realise your child has cut him or herself with the bread knife, or whether your friend bruises an ankle while you’re out running; it will give you peace of mind knowing that you can be sharp in those situations – ready to take action.
Most small, superficial cuts and bruises can be treated at home with the help of a basic medical kit consisting of:
- Latex gloves
- cotton wool
- plasters of different shapes and sizes
- gauze dressings
- small medical scissors
- antiseptic cream
As with any medical situation, always stop and assess the situation before you act. Oftentimes it’s not even necessary to seek professional help for cuts and bruises, should you be informed on how to treat them correctly.
Cuts: what to do
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before assisting someone with a cut to avoid spreading any bacteria to the open wound.
- Put on latex gloves as blood and other body fluids can transmit viruses such as HIV and hepatitis.
- If the wound doesn’t stop bleeding by itself, apply pressure with a clean bandage.
- Once the bleeding has stopped, allow clean running water to run over the wound to rinse off any dirt.
- If there is still some dirt or any object such as a piece of glass, for example, stuck in the wound, remove this carefully with sterilised tweezers.
- Carefully cut off any loose skin with medical scissors.
- If some bleeding still occurs, dab the wound with a gauze pad
- Apply disinfectant or antiseptic cream
- Cover the wound with a bandage or plaster, depending on the size of the cut.
- Use your own discretion on when to change the bandage or plaster – usually at least once a day, or whenever the dressing gets wet or dirty.
Get professional medical help when:
- The wound is on the person’s face or neck
- The wound is severely deep and won’t stop bleeding after 10 minutes of applying pressure. In this case, the person probably needs stitches.
- The person is starting to look pale or feels faint due to loss of blood
- There is an object stuck in the wound that you’re unable to remove
Bruises: what to do
Unfortunately, there’s not much to do about bruises except rest and giving it time to heal. But to make the discomfort and pain a bit more bearable here’s what to do:
- Apply ice packs (wrapped in a thin towel) to the bruised area as soon as possible as this will stop blood from flowing to the injured area.
- During the first day of the injury, apply ice to the bruised area for 10-15 minutes at a time, every hour.
- 48 hours after the injury, start applying heat to the bruised area to boost healing.
- If the bruised area is on a leg or ankle, try to keep it in an elevated position for as long as possible on the first day to reduce swelling.
Get professional medical help when:
- Swelling doesn’t seem to go down or if the swelling increases.
- The bruise doesn’t seem to start fading and healing after about seven days.
- The part that’s injured looks strangely out of place, as a bone might be broken or joint may be dislocated.
- The bruise is on the person’s head,
- The bruise is as a result of an injury to the loin or flank. Remind the injured person to keep an eye out for blood present in their urine as it could indicate injury to the kidneys or other organs.
Dynamikos empowers people with the knowledge and tools to act in a life threatening situation. Since April 2005, DYNAMIKOS TRAINING NETWORK CC has provided training to educational institutions and clients across the Cape Metropole and surrounding regions. Its high-quality on-site training can be tailored to your unique needs and will certainly make a difference to your employees in their workplace and equip them with very necessary life skills.