How to Treat Knife Wounds

Whether you have recently had a child, you work in the service industry or you would like to help your family and friends in case of an emergency, learning how to treat a knife wound is a valuable skill.

Although learning how to treat a knife wound is not a substitute for a first-aid course, it can come in handy in the kitchen and in other workplace environments where knives are frequently used.

Observe the location of the wound. If the wound is in the chest, it is likely to be the most severe as it may have punctured a lung or hit a major artery. If the wound is in the finger or hand, although it will demand attention, it may not require the help of a medical professional.

Determine the severity of the wound. If the bleeding stops within a few minutes and can be stopped with firm pressure, clean the wound gently with water and apply a sterile bandage. If the knife is still in the wound or the wound is bleeding profusely, call 911 immediately.

Leave the knife in the wound. If the knife is stuck in the wound, do not try to remove it. This could make the bleeding worse and increase injury. Instead, apply firm pressure around the wound with a sterile cloth or bandage. If you have no sterile cloth or bandage, use a towel or a T-shirt.

Place a credit card over the wound. If the wound does not have the knife stuck in it and is bleeding profusely from the leg or chest, place a credit card directly over the wound and continue to apply pressure to the injury with a cloth or bandage. This will prevent blood loss and lung collapse if the wound is in the chest.

Elevate the wound above the level of the heart. Lie the patient down, with the wounded area above the heart, if possible, on a chair or a pillow. Talk to the patient and make him or her lie still until the ambulance arrives.