Most cuts or wounds heal without medical attention. Large, deep or contaminated wounds, however, may need to be seen by a doctor for cleaning, stitching and, in some cases, antibiotic treatment. In either situation, at-home treatment is focused on preventing infection and providing the body with the nutrients it needs to heal.
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Things you need
- Soap and water
- Tweezers (optional)
- Antibiotic ointment or cream
Apply pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding. Seek medical attention if the bleeding does not stop, the wound is deep or the edges of the wound are jagged, as the wound may need stitches.
Clean the wound gently with soap and water. Use tweezers if necessary to remove debris from the wound. A contaminated wound is likely to become infected, so clean the cut as thoroughly as possible.
Apply antibiotic ointment or cream to the wound to keep it moist and prevent infection.
Cover the wound with a clean, dry bandage to keep bacteria out of the wound.
Remove the bandage every day and inspect the wound for signs of infection. Clean the wound with soap and water, then replace the bandage. Repeat this procedure if the bandage becomes wet or dirty.
Take all prescribed medications as ordered. Diabetics are at risk for wound-healing problems if the blood glucose is not well-controlled, according to Drugs.com, and wounds may heal more slowly if heart disease affects blood flow to the wound.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet to promote wound healing. Take vitamins as recommended by your healthcare provider and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid smoking, as it interferes with blood flow to the wound.
Remove the bandage when the wound begins to heal and expose it to the air to promote healing.
Tips and warnings
- Avoid using harsh chemicals to clean the wound, including iodine, alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. These substances may delay healing by damaging the tissue, according to the Merck Manual.
- Expert opinions vary about the efficacy of using aloe vera on minor wounds.
- Seek medical attention if the wound is longer than about 8mm, is on the face, appears deep or jagged or does not stop bleeding. If the wound cannot be cleaned thoroughly, is a puncture wound or appears to involve injury to a nerve, tendon or bone, medical assistance is needed, according to the Merck Manual.
- Get a tetanus shot if you had not had one in the past five years.
- Contact your doctor if the wound becomes redder within 48 hours or begins to drain pus.
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