Some of the most common injuries are the everyday scrapes and bumps. It is incredibly helpful to know how to treat these sorts of minor injuries and prevent them becoming major injuries.
Grazes are superficial injuries which result in a thin layer of skin being scraped off by friction and the wound is usually dirty. It should not be your priority to clean the wound immediately. Grazes can usually be temporarily patched up with a plaster and then cleaned properly later once you are somewhere where you can wash your hands, wear gloves and use gauze and water or sterile wipes to clean it thoroughly.
- Clean the wound from the inner most area and move outwards. Throw away the wipe.
- Repeat this until the wound is completely clean and devoid of any grit or mud.
- Apply a non-adherent dressing pad, shiny side down onto the wound and secure with medical tape or Micropore.
Remove the dressing at night to allow the air to get to the wound. Avoid soaking in a bath or going swimming until the wound has healed properly. Refrain from picking the scab as it will slow down the healing and can make it more prone to infection.
Wounds with Objects Embedded in Them
If something is embedded in a wound, generally it shouldn’t be removed. The foreign object may well be stemming the bleeding and you could cause more damage and make things worse if you try and remove it from the wound.
You should try and stem any bleeding without pushing the embedded object further into the wound. The easiest way to do this is by making a donut ring or using a couple of rolled bandages either side of the foreign body. This will enable you to apply direct pressure without causing further damage.
Making a donut ring to avoid impacting an embedded object
- Do not remove anything embedded in a wound as it may well have caused damage on the way in and could cause more damage again on the way out! It may also be stemming any bleeding.
- Use a rolled cloth or triangular bandage to make a donut ring (above), or put two rolled bandages either side of the object to enable you to apply pressure without pushing the object further into the wound.
- Apply pressure over the wound without pushing the object further in.
- Get medical help and they will remove it under sterile conditions. If there is glass in the wound they may need an x-ray to see the extent of the embedded object and ensure it has all been removed.
Removing a Splinter
To remove splinters you should wash the wound with warm, soapy water. Then use a clean pair of tweezers to firmly grip the splinter and remove it, from the same direction as it went in. Squeeze the wound slightly to ensure the splinter has been completely removed and to encourage a small amount of bleeding to expel any residual dirt. Check with the casualty to ensure their tetanus is up to date.
Bruises form when bleeding occurs under the skin. To reduce bruising and swelling, you can apply a wrapped ice pack for 10 minutes. Never put an ice pack directly onto exposed skin. Bruises generally take a couple of weeks to disappear.
First Aid for Life and onlinefirstaid.com provide this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made or actions taken based on this information. The best way to be prepared for action in an emergency is to attend a practical first aid course or do one online.