You’re in a hurry to cook supper and in your rush you slice your finger Download comic sans! It’s bleeding, it hurts and all you have is a plaster. Is a band-aid enough? Do I need stitches? Will it scar? Our doctor gives the following checklist.
When you need medical treatment
- Look at the injury: can you see the bone, any tendons or ligaments? It will look white or beige. If you see something other than blood – go to nearest clinic, GP or day hospital.
- If you clean and cover the wound and apply pressure to it, but it won’t stop bleeding after 5 minutes.
- If you’ve cut yourself on the face – especially if it’s deep – then don’t try to fix it at home.
- You must get medical attention if you’ve cut any joint or bendable part of your body, like your finger joints.
- If the cut came from a dirty object, like barbed wire, a rusty nail, a dirty knife or glass that was lying on the street. You must get it looked at as it could lead to an infection. You’ll more than likely be given a tetanus injection – this is standard so don’t panic!
Treating it from home
If none of those happened to you, then it’s safe to say that you can treat it at home. The first step is not to panic! Many people panic or become scared at the sight of their own blood. If this is you, make sure someone in your household knows how to do the following:
- Clean the cut with clean, cool running water – do not soak the cut and don’t use any soap.
- Dry the cut with a clean towel.
- Pull the edges of the cut together and quickly put on a plaster.
- If you don’t have any plasters, cotton wool and sticky tape will work.
If the cut is very long, you might want to use more than one plaster, but we would suggest going to the doctor.
When to replace a plaster
Changing a plaster isn’t something you should do too often unless it’s on your fingers. If it’s on your hand, change it if it gets wet, dirty or lifts. If it’s on your body, leave it on until the cut is healed, just do a daily check to see that all is well.
Scarring and what to do about it
One thing that isn’t always on everyone’s mind is scarring. In most cases, cuts will leave a scar, which is a problem if the cut is on your face. To help reduce the appearance of scars, use a Vitamin E oil on the affected area. Only start using it after the cut has healed or else you may get an infection. You can find Vitamin E oil at most pharmacies – ask the beautician or pharmacist for a good option and directions on how to use it.
When a cut goes really bad
A big problem when recovering from a cut is the chance of an infection. If you don’t take good care of your cut, it can become infected and that’s serious! While the injury is healing, make sure you look at it every day. Check for redness, swelling and any discharge, like water or pus. If this happens, get to a clinic as soon as possible.