Skin wounds need to be thoroughly cleaned as soon as possible to reduce the risk of infection and scarring and to promote healing. |
Minor cuts and scrapes usually don't require a trip to the emergency room. Yet proper care is essential to avoid infection or other complications. These guidelines can help you care for simple wounds: Rinse out the wound with clear water. Soap can irritate the wound, so try to keep it out of the actual wound. If dirt or debris remains in the wound after washing, use tweezers cleaned with alcohol to remove the particles. If debris still remains, see your doctor. Thorough cleaning reduces the risk of infection and tetanus. To clean the area around the wound, use soap and a washcloth. There's no need to use hydrogen peroxide, iodine or an iodine-containing cleanser. Clean the wound
If you are not going to see your doctor immediately, rinse the wound for at least 5 to 10 minutes.
Wash your hands well with soap and water, if available. Put on medical gloves before cleaning the wound, if available. Remove large pieces of dirt or other debris from the wound with cleaned tweezers. Do not push the tweezers deeply into the wound. Wash the wound under running tap water (the more the better) to remove all the dirt, debris, and bacteria from the wound. Lukewarm water and mild soap, such as Ivory dishwashing soap, are the best. (Note: If you are cleaning a wound near the eye, do not get soap in the eye.) Scrub gently with a washcloth. (Moderate scrubbing may be needed if the wound is very dirty.) Hard scrubbing may actually cause more damage to the tissue and increase the chance of infection. Scrubbing the wound will probably hurt and may increase bleeding, but it is necessary to clean the wound thoroughly. If you have a water sprayer in your kitchen sink, try using the sprayer to wash the wound. This usually removes most of the dirt and other objects from the wound. Avoid getting any spray from the wound into your eyes. Large minor dirty wounds may be easier to clean in the shower. If some dirt or other debris remains in the wound, repeat the cleaning
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