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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Article Home First Aid and Emergency First aid for minor wounds and abrasions

First aid for minor wounds and abrasions

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Any break in the continuity of skin is called a wound. A sharp force trauma like a tear, cut or puncture causes open wound. A blunt force trauma causes a closed wound.

 

Types of open wound:

  • Abrasions: These occur when the outer layer of skin is scraped against a hard/rough surface. These are associated with mild or no bleeding.
  • Lacerations: Commonly called cuts, these occur when a wound extends through the top layer of skin to the tissue underneath. These bleed more severely than abrasions.
  • Puncture wounds: These occur when a sharp object pierces the skin. These do not bleed openly but here, infection is a greater concern.
  • Amputation: These occur when a body part is completely cut off.
  • Avulsions: These occur when a portion of a body torn away.

Note #: Amputations and avulsions require urgent medical intervention. Any separated body parts can be placed in a clean, damp,   cool cloth/bag and taken along with the victim to the nearest hospital emergency department.

 Types of closed wound:

  • Contusion: These are more commonly known as bruises, which are caused by a blunt trauma which damages the tissue under the skin.
  • Hematomas: These are also called blood tumors, which are caused by damage to a blood vessel that causes blood to collect under the skin.
  • Crush injuries: These are caused by a great or extreme amount of force applied over a long time.

 First aid for minor wounds

  • Place clean, absorbent material like cotton over the wound and apply light pressure to control/stop bleeding.
  • Clean the wound with warm soapy/antiseptic water or any safe drinking water. Wash in the direction away from the wound to remove foreign material. This can be done with an irrigation syringe that comes along most of the first aid kits. Or by filling a clean plastic bag with water and punching a pinhole in it to create a forceful stream to wash dirt, debris, and some of the germs. Vigorously scrub the abrasion until no dirt remains visible in the wound except raw meat.
  • Rinse the wound again. Let the wound bleed a little or apply pressure with sterile gauge pad or sponge, if the scrubbing has caused some bleeding to start.
  • Apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment (not cream) and a clean dry bandage on the wound. Dressings should be put directly on the wound, and any non-adherent dressing will work. Put bandage over the dressing.
  • Observe/inspect the wound site for signs and symptoms of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, heat, pain, foul smelling drainage, or fever.
  • If wound is big, serious or if there is excessive bleeding, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Ask current status for tetanus vaccination to the injured person and advice- ten years for minor wounds and five to ten years for severe or contaminated wound.