First aid for cuts and scrapes. Even a seemingly trivial wound requires care to avoid infection and to promote sound healing. When bleeding has been controlled and if you are satisfied no stitches or other doctor’s care is required, you can treat a wound as follows.
Expose the wound; then wash your hands. Fill a bowl with warm sudsy water (prepared with disinfecting soap, if available). Using a sterile gauze pad, clean washcloth, or newly opened surgical sponge, wash the skin around the wound. Work outward from the wound to avoid contaminating it.
Next wash the wound itself. Copious rinsing with the soapy water is gentler and more effective than scrubbing. Swish a cut hand or foot in the bowl. Flush grit from an abrasion by squeezing the soapy water over it. To protect the wound, see Bandaging.
Getting out deep dirt
When dirt is deeply embedded in a laceration (skin tear) or puncture, persist with sudsing and rinsing for at least 20 minutes. Then remove any visible grit or splinters with tweezers. Sterilize the tweezers by boiling them for 10 minutes or by heating their points red hot in the flame of several matches; wipe off the carbon with sterile gauze. Remove what you can easily see and pick out; don’t probe. Never squeeze a puncture wound to clean it-this can spread infection.
Check the wound over the next few days. Excessive pain or swelling, redness, or a red streak leading from the wound may indicate infection or the presence of a foreign body in it. See adoctor if a puncture is deep, if foreign matter is embedded in a wound, or if any signs of infection appear.
With a deep wound, there is danger of tetanus infection. Ask your doctor if you need a tetanus booster shot; have one at least every 10 years.