Knowing how to treat a minor wound such as a cut or graze, with effective first aid steps can often be the difference between further infection or irritation. A cut or graze is luckily, a minor wound, that can be easily patched up with a plaster, dressing or bandage and a few simple steps!
So what is the difference between a cut and a graze, and how should you treat them differently? A cut is when the skin is fully broken or split, compared to a graze where the top layers of skin are scraped off. Fortunately, both these injuries can be treated with the same process. This means less to remember in a potentially stressful situation, especially one involving children, where these types of injuries are so common.
How to Treat a Cut or Graze:
- Firstly, stay calm and reassure the patient. If you are dealing with a child, try and explain gently what you are doing along the way and how it will make them feel better. Inspect the injury and decide whether it is serious enough to warrant a hospital or doctor visit or proceed to the next steps.
- Before touching any of the wound, wash your hands thoroughly or put on some clean examination gloves. Next, try and stop any bleeding by holding a clean bandage and applying firm pressure directly to the area. If you don’t have a bandage, a dry cloth such as a tea towel or an item of clothing can be used. If the wound is on a limb, try and elevate it above the level of the heart to slow the flow of blood.
- Using clean water and/or a mild disinfectant spray with some gauze, clean the cut or graze thoroughly, removing any debris to reduce the risk of infection. You can use tweezers to remove any small bits of dirt or debris in the wound however if there is anything too large, leave it to a professional.
- Once cleaned, cover the wound with a clean plaster, bandage or dressing – depending on the size of the wound. This will assist with keeping the wound clean and moist, which aids in further healing. Remember to change the plaster, bandage or dressing whenever it becomes wet or dirty.
Having a first aid kit on hand ensures that you have all the items you need to handle any first aid emergency. Our Modulator Cuts & Grazes Kit has all the injury-specific items to treat a cut or graze as per the method above. However, if you are after a more comprehensive first aid kit to deal with a wide range of emergencies, we recommend taking a look at our Voyager 2 Series First Aid Kit range which are designed especially for home and car use.
When to get Further Assistance:
Sometimes a cut or graze is a little more serious than we think. If your wound has any of the below properties, we recommend heading to a professional immediately for further treatment.
- There is concern about a Tetanus infection, especially if the patient has not been immunised against Tetanus in the past 5 years
- There is a large amount of blood that does not stop quickly, or blood is spurting
- You cannot clean all the dirt or debris out effectively
- The cut is over a joint
- The wound is quite deep (over a few millimetres deep) or gapes
- The wound is near your eye
- The pain intensifies or redness/swelling increases
- You develop a temperature
- The wound is from a bite, whether by a human or animal
- The cut or graze happened while in dirty water
- You have diabetes
What You Can Do to Speed up the Healing Process:
So you’re all patched up and things are healing nicely…good job! Did you know that there are some things you can do to boost your immune response and heal that bit quicker? The list below gives you some simple suggestions to implement into your daily routine.
- Eating fresh & healthy food – This may seem like a simple one, but feeding your body foods that fuel your immune response can speed up the wound healing process. Try adding power foods such as fruits, vegetables (especially leafy greens like kale & spinach, mushrooms, beetroot), ginger and yoghurt to your diet to help mend quicker.
- Sleep – Make sure you are not neglecting your sleep routine by staying up late or not getting a full night’s sleep. Getting your rest and having a healthy sleeping routine has been found to assist with a speedier recovery.
- Stay active – Sticking to a regular exercise routine (within the limits of your injury) and getting your heart rate up works to increase blood flow, speeding up the healing process.
- Avoid smoking & drinking – These two are found to be likely to impede your body’s healing process and also increase the risk of complications, so avoiding these while you can is ideal for healing.
- Looking after the wound – This one may seem obvious, but often we take off bandages and stop cleaning the area thoroughly before the wound is fully healed! Contrary to popular belief, leaving a wound to ‘air out’ is not a great idea, a moist wound can assist in healing much quicker. So keep covering and cleaning your wound until you are fully healed.
Warning: Please note that the tips and advice given in this blog are not intended to replace professional medical advice. If you have any doubts, trust your gut and consult a doctor and follow any medical advice given. Always read any product descriptions clearly and follow instructions carefully.