- Grazes are also referred to as scrapes, abrasions, and can include ‘carpet burns’ and ‘gravel rash’)
- Grazes damage many nerve endings in the skin and so, while not serious in nature, are quite painful.
- Always ensure that your hands are clean before you treat any open wounds, including grazes.
- Grazes usually don’t bleed profusely and so applying a little pressure with a clean bandage is usually enough.
- Clean the graze with clean water and a little soap. Most grazes contain dirt or gravel, so it’s very important that the injury is cleaned thoroughly to avoid the possibility of infection later.
- If you can’t completely clean the wound, cover it with a non-stick dressing (sticky dressings will pull off the scab that forms as it heals when you remove the dressing later).
- If you can clean the wound thoroughly, you can leave it uncovered – although it may sensitive for the first 24 hours.
- Avoid removing the scab once it has formed – despite its appearance, this is a sterile layer that protects the wound while it heals. Picking it off will increase the chance s of infection.
- A graze will usually heal quickest if it is left open to the air – although covering it is wise if it’s likely your child may knock it and or pick it.
- Itchiness around the sight of a wound is a good sign – this means that it is healing well.
- Bruises are a result of bleeding under the skin from broken blood vessels.
- Bruising is usually caused when the skin, fat layer and muscles are damaged by being hit or squeezed.
- The pain associated to bruising is caused by damage to nerve endings, and the blood leaking into surrounding tissue.
How to help minimise bruising:
To minimise further bleeding and swelling, follow the R.I.C.E steps immediately after the injury:
R Rest the injured part
I Ice or cold pack on the bruise.
C Compression bandaging. Wrap a bandage firmly around the area.
E Elevate the injured part.
- Don’t apply heat for at least 24 hours as this can make bruising worse as a result of dilation of the blood vessels which may cause blood to ooze once more.
- After a couple of days, gentle massage and heat may help reduce the swelling, but avoid anything that is painful.
- Cuts generally go through deeper tissue which can result in more profuse bleeding as a result of damage to larger blood vessels. Cuts to the head and the extremities (fingers and toes) are particularly bloody.
- Apply pressure with a clean cloth or bandage (or your finger if a cloth isn’t available) to control the bleeding. If you are applying pressure to another person’s wound, you should use gloves, if possible, to protect your hands from their blood.
- Control bleeding by raising the wound to slow the blood flow.
- Don’t control bleeding by using a tourniquet (a tight bandage which stops blood flow to an area) because this can do more damage.
- If the blood is spurting out (which may mean that you’ve cut into an artery) or if you can’t control heavy bleeding within a few minutes, continue to apply pressure and get medical help immediately.
- If you have controlled the bleeding but the cuts is gaping, it will be difficult for it to heal well and without a large scar. Gaping cuts often need stitches or special dressing to heal well – although cuts to the scalp of knees are often left because the skin is too tight there to stitch or hold together.
Get medical advice for a cut if:
- The cut is unclean
- The cut is large – anything bigger than 1 cm should be seen by a doctor
- The cut is gaping
- You have trouble controlling the bleeding
- The position of the cut may cause a noticeable scar – on the face or neck
- You don’t know what to do
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