Every year, around 136.9 million children visit the ER for various issues. It’s the last thing you ever want to imagine as a parent: something happening to your child while you have no idea what to do about it. That’s why learning about first aid and basic life support for people of all ages is so important.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. That’s why we’re taking a look at what to do if you or your child experiences a deep cut, and when to seek medical attention.
Step 1: Stay Calm and Try to Stop the Bleeding
The first thing that you need to do is stay calm. In the event of an emergency, it might feel natural to panic. But this does nothing to help the situation or the patient.
Once you have calmed down you can focus on the wound. If your child is wounded, you need to attempt to calm them down as well.
From there, you should apply pressure with a clean cloth or bandage. Once the cloth is applied to the cut, never lift it back up to check if it has stopped bleeding. This will remove the clot and start bleeding all over again.
Instead, keep pressure on the wound until you are positive it has stopped bleeding, or until help arrives. If the cloth you’re using becomes soaked in blood, apply another clean cloth over the top of it and resume pressure.
Step 2: Clean the Wound
Once the bleeding has stopped, you can use cool water to remove the bandage. Wash out the cut gently with soap and water, being careful not to scrub or irritate the area.
Let clean water run over the cut for a few minutes to ensure that the area is well cleaned. There is a risk of infection and scarring if a deep cut is left unmanaged.
Step 3: Protect the Wound
Once the cut is clean, it’s safe to apply an antibiotic lotion to the area. Be careful not to overstimulate the wound and reopen it.
If the wound is on a hand or foot, or it’s in an area where it will stick to clothing, it’s a good idea to cover it up with a bandage. A simple adhesive bandage or some gauze will be sufficient to keep the area safe.
However, fresh air is good for healing wounds as well. If it’s possible to allow your wound to be out in the open, as long as you’re in a safe environment, it’s alright to do that.
Make sure the area stays dry and change the bandage at least twice a day, or when it’s visibly soiled.
When to Seek Medical Attention for a Deep Cut
While it’s a good idea to know how to handle yourself in an emergency situation, sometimes the best first aid you can administer is knowing when to call for help.
If the cut doesn’t stop bleeding after five minutes of constant, hard pressure, you should seek medical attention. Additionally, if it’s a very deep gash or it’s longer than a half inch, your health care provider would be better suited to take care of the injury.
Some other signs that you need to seek medical attention are:
- The cut is located on the face or close to the eye
- It was caused by a dirty or rusty object
- The edges are separated
- It was caused by a bite
- There is excessive pain, redness, swelling, or drainage
- Another injury, like a fracture, is involved
- The area is numb
All of these signs could mean that you have a more serious injury than a simple cut. It’s possible that you could have severed some nerves or tendons, broken a bone, or gotten a serious infection.
When in doubt, call your healthcare provider.
Don’t Take a Gamble with Your Health
It’s possible to manage some deep cuts at home. However, if you suspect that you or your child’s injury could require medical attention, don’t hesitate to call your doctor. Having first aid skills could save a life, but you need to know when additional help is required.
If you’re looking for more first aid tips, check out this post next!