Bumps, scrapes and bruises happen all the time, especially in children. Most small bruises and cuts are minor and can be treated safely at home with basic first-aid supplies like bandages, sterile gauze dressings and an alcohol-free cleanser.
Steps for treating minor cuts, scrapes or other skin abrasions
If you or a loved one has a cut or open wound on the skin, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands and quickly assess the wound
Look for small foreign objects (e.g., splinters, pebbles or dirt) and determine if other tissues like blood vessels, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, bones or internal organs are injured.
- Wash the wound with lukewarm water and mild soap
This will help gently remove any bacteria, dirt or other debris (e.g., small rocks or wood fragments).
- Stop the bleeding
Apply direct and continuous pressure using a clean cloth or gauze for 1-2 minutes.
- Determine whether you need to visit an urgent care facility
If you are unable to stop the bleeding within 1-2 minutes or remove the debris, we encourage you to get medical treatment.
- Cover the wound with a sterile bandage
This will help protect the cut and prevent it from reopening. Cover with fresh bandages daily until the wound has healed.
- Consider taking over-the-counter pain relievers
Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve painful cuts.
- Ask your doctor if you’re up to date on your tetanus vaccination
This step is especially important if you were cut with a dirty or rusty object. Tetanus vaccinations are available at your local urgent care.
How to safely treat minor bruises at home
Treating both small bruises and cuts can be done at home. Here are five safe, effective and natural ways to help minor bruises heal faster:
- Apply ice right away
A cold compress will help reduce blood flow around the affected area, which can make the bruise less apparent and reduce swelling.
- Apply heat after the bruise has formed
Applying heat helps boost circulation and increase blood flow, which can help clear away the trapped blood, loosen tense muscles and relieve pain.
- Try compression
Wrapping the bruised area helps prevent injured blood vessels from leaking, lessen the severity and reduce pain and swelling.
- Elevate your bruised body part above the heart, if possible
Elevation helps relieve pain and drain blood away from the affected area, which helps the bruise heal more quickly.
- Apply topical aloe vera
Pure aloe vera gel may help reduce pain and inflammation.
If you are unsure how to treat a small cut or bruise and would like medical assistance, please visit Coastal Urgent are of Bossier or Coastal Urgent Care of Haughton. Both facilities welcome walk-in appointments Mon – Fri, 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., and Sat – Sun, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.