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Coping with minor cuts and scrapes

By Sola Ogundipe

Follow these steps to keep cuts clean and prevent infections and scars.

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Wash your hands. First, wash up with soap and water so you don’t get bacteria into the cut and cause an infection. If you’re on the go, use hand sanitiser.

Stop the bleeding. Put pressure on the cut with a gauze pad or clean cloth. Keep the pressure on for a few minutes.

Clean the wound. Once you’ve stopped the bleeding, rinse the cut under cool running water or use a saline wound wash. Clean the area around the wound with soap and a wet washcloth. Don’t get soap in the cut, because it can irritate the skin. And don’t use methylated spirit, hydrogen peroxide or iodine. Completely avoid use of brake fluid or engine oil.

Remove any dirt or debris. Use a pair of tweezers cleaned with alcohol to gently pick out any dirt, gravel, glass, or other material in the cut.

You don’t need to bandage every cut and scrape. Some heal more quickly when left uncovered to stay dry. But if the cut is on a part of the body that might get dirty or rub against clothes, put on a bandage to protect it. Change the bandage every day or whenever it gets wet or dirty.

Once a solid scab has formed, you can take off the bandage.

Check with your doctor or go to the hospital if the cut is deep, long, or the edges are jagged or if you can’t stop the bleeding with direct pressure.

 

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