At Home First Aid – Cuts.
There are many things to know about first aid. From all of the wars that mankind has been in, we know a few things. First, stopping the blood loss as soon as possible is one of the most important things when it comes to a major wound. The second is hygiene. An infection is one of the greatest causes of death when it comes to surgery, and first aid even in today’s hospitals.
Let’s talk about blood loss. When there is a deep wound, and it is oozing blood, is from cut capillaries and veins. This blood is generally a darker color as it is depleted of oxygen. When there is spurting blood, this is from a cut artery. Artery blood is brighter in color as it is enriched with oxygen. The blood will spurt to the same tempo as your heart beat.
It is vital to remain calm and not to panic. Keep a cool head. This will help you keep a slow heart beat limiting blood loss. Also you will be able to effectively dress the wound as best as possible.
Any time that I have a cut I like to limit the blood flow to the area by use of tourniquet. Note, never use a tourniquet on your torso, neck, or head. Instead try to fill in the wound with gauze to help stop the bleeding.
When applying a tourniquet you should apply this as high on the limb as possible, but never on a joint, such as elbows, knees, wrists or ankles. The reason for this, is in case there are other wounds that you may not know of, you can stop the blood loss to all wounds while you tend to each one.
If you need to make a tourniquet, the material you use should be no less than 2 inches in width. The reason for this is anything less could break blood vessels under the skin and cause a bigger problem.
Once the blood loss has minimized, make sure you are using clean bandages, and have somewhat clean hands. When putting dressing on a wound, this is a key point for bacteria to enter the wound. If the is dirt or material in the wound you must wash or pick it out. Tetanus and others forms of bacteria can very easily get into a wound at this point. Iodine is great for cleaning a wound; if any is available use this before putting on the dressing.
Once a wound is clean, apply your bandages and any ointment if you have any over the wound. If the wound is severe elevate the wound above your heart to slow the blood flow to the area. If the wound bleeds through the bandages, apply more on top of what is already present. Do not remove the existing bandages. Any blood starting to clot will be broken away by this and you will have to start over from square one. Simply keep applying bandages until the wound stops bleeding through.
On top of elevating the wound, pressure should be applied as well. Be careful not to apply too much pressure as this can be counterproductive. Too much pressure can cause the wound not to close as quickly, and can cut off too much blood flow.
If you need to use a tourniquet do not keep this on for more than two hours. You can cause damage to the limb from prolonged lack of blood circulation. Once the wound is covered up, depending on the severity of the wound you can remove the tourniquet as soon as it is dressed. Keep the wound clean and change your bandages every day. Every time that you remove the bandage, you are exposing the wound to possible infection. Wash your hands before and after you change a bandage. Apply triple antibiotic ointment on a bandage every time you apply new dressing.
The use of creams will keep a wound moist, and can help reduce scaring, as well as fighting bacteria.
Never pick a scab. This allows dirt and bacteria from the outside to enter you blood stream. Once a scab has formed make sure you wash the area with soap and water to kill any bacteria.
The take away is this. Limit the blood flow. Keep the area as clean as possible. Keep a cool head. Change the bandages daily.
One way to stop major bleeding on an area of the torso, neck or head is to apply quick stop that is formulated for humans. This is a powder that aids in clotting blood. If desperate measures must be taken and quick stop is not available use corn starch. This will clog up the wound, and is fairly not toxic to the blood stream. If using corn starch you must use antibiotics and keep a close eye on the wound. There could be bacteria, or other hazards growing in the cornstarch.
Things to avoid when applying first aid to a cut
Never lick a cut. If there is dirt in the wound or you need to clean the area, use water. Never lick a cut. You have many different kinds of bacteria in your mouth. Licking a wound can introduce bacteria and cause major complications.
Never leave a wound open and think it will heal fine on its own. It will not. Keep a wound clean and be responsible. Poor first aid can be as serious as a life and death situation.
Keep wounds away from private areas. Privet parts can be hosts to many forms of bacteria.
Don’t Panic. If you or others are wounded never panic. You could go into shock. Keeping a calm and firm grasp on the situation is best.
Never use items such as string, or fishing line, or wire as a tourniquet.
Never leave a tourniquet on for more than two hours.