Cuts and Scrapes: How to fix them at home and avoid the doctor

As I look at my arms and legs, I laugh a little at all of the scars I have. I was a clumsy kid, always tripping on my own feet (which took me years to grow into). And do not get me started on the problems I had when I got on anything with wheels. The scar on the inside of my elbow will forever raise eyebrows and illicit strong questions.

But while my limbs were covered in bandages in all of my growing years, I never really visited the doctor for my injuries. Surprisingly, I never broke a bone. But with each injury I ran to my family doctor: my mom. Whatever the inherent knowledge of how to fix childhood injuries that mom’s have, I will never know until I have kids of my own I guess. But because of my mom, and her know how about treating minor cuts and scrapes, she not only wiped away my tears, but stopped my bleeding as well.  This prevented any unnecessary trips to the emergency room and doctor’s office, saving my parents a ton on catastrophic health insurance.

So whether or not I ever develop the inherent gift to become a mommy-doctor the instant I become a parent, I can learn a few ways of learning how to take care of cuts and scrapes so I can give my doctor and my health insurance a break.

  • For most basic injuries, you will not need professional medical help. First, assess the wound. If there is anything in the wound like dirt, small rocks, etc. you need to get them out. Ouch. Yes, it will probably hurt, however, it could be the difference between preventing an infection or not. Usually water is the only thing you need to clean the wound. It might be tempting to use soap, but that can actually irritate the wound. An antiseptic wash found in most basic first aid kits can be used to clean the wound. Be warned, it can sting, but it will be worth it. If water is not enough to get pebbles and such out, you can use tweezers to lightly tweeze out the debris.
  • Make sure the wound stops bleeding. This is one of the most important rules. Losing too much blood can be a bad side affect of a wound. First, assess the wound. If it is bleeding a big much, apply light pressure. This will help ease the bleeding. Wait until the wound has stopped bleeding before you stop applying pressure. If the wound is still bleeding profusely, you might need to get actual medical attention from a professional. (i.e. go to the hospital immediately.)
  • Speed up recovery with an ointment like Neosporin. Any ointment will help keep infections at bay so your wound does not become a bigger problem.
  • Select the right bandage. It is good to have different sizes of bandages in your first aid kit to fit each wound.  For bigger wounds (like the one I mentioned on the inside of my arm), a piece of gauze and a wrap might be better to cover the wound.