How to Treat Minor Wounds
You can treat skin wounds such as burns and minor cuts on your own with the right products; to do so, read our tips and make sure your first-aid kit contains all the mentioned items below.
What to do in case of minor injuries and what products to keep handy?
Always start by washing your hands with a mild, fragrance-free soap and warm water (or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer).
How to treat minor burns and protect the skin
What you'll need:
- Place the burned area in cool water (or hold under running tap water) or cover with wet compresses until pain subsides (10 to 20 minutes). Remove any jewellery or clothing near the wound.
Tip: You should never use cool water or ice to cool a burn, as it could damage skin tissue.
- Once the burn has been cooled completely and the skin is washed, apply an aloe vera cream to moisturize the skin and ease the pain (except on blisters). You can also use calamine lotion to relieve itching.
Tip: You should never put ointment, butter, oil, or toothpaste on a burn, as this slows the skin cooling process and worsens the pain.
- Without applying pressure, if needed, cover the burn with a bandage or a non-stick sterile gauze. Avoid bursting blisters, as they help to protect the skin during the healing process.
- Take a pain reliever, e.g., Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, if pain persists. Avoid using aspirin for burns as it may delay healing.
- While the wound heals, and in the weeks afterwards, always protect your skin from the sun by wearing long clothing or by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
How to treat cut, scrapes, and other skin wounds
What you'll need:
- To stop the bleeding, apply pressure on the wound with compresses or with a clean cloth for at least 5 minutes.
Tip: If the wound is on a leg or arm, elevate the injured limb above the level of the heart, to reduce blood flow and ease the pain.
- Thoroughly clean the wound under cool, running water for several minutes.
- If there is still debris in the wound after rinsing, use tweezers to remove it.
- If there is a flap of skin hanging from the wound, don’t tear it off. Instead, use tweezers to reposition the skin over the wound.
Tip 1: You should never put ointment, butter, oil, or toothpaste on a burn, as this slows the skin cooling process and worsens the pain.
Tip 2: Hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol are irritants and do not promote wound healing. Use rubbing alcohol only to disinfect instruments, like tweezers.
Clean dirty skin around the wound with water and a gentle, fragrance-free soap, then pat dry.
NOTE: Steps 1 and 2 can be done in reverse order.
When to seek medical care
Consult a professional for these types of injuries:
- Wound that is still dirty even after thorough cleaning
- Wound that continues to bleed even after applying pressure for 5 minutes
- Wound caused by a bite (animal or human)
- Wound caused by a dirty object puncturing the skin, e.g., a nail
- Deep cut with irregular edges or that can’t be held together with a bandage
- Tick bites
- First-degree burn on more than 10% of the body (adult) or 5% of the body (child)
- Second-degree burn on a surface greater than the size of the palm of the hand
- Third-degree burn
- Burn caused by fire, an electric shock, or a chemical product
- Burn to the face, hands, feet, or genitals, or near a joint (shoulder or knee)
|Tip: Determining the severity of a burn|
|Skin Colour||Skin Temperature||Swollen Skin||Pain Degree||Blisters|
|2nd Degree||Very Red||Hot||Yes||Very Intense||Form immediately or within hours|
|3rd Degree||Blackened, white, or bright red with a leathery appearance||Not Applicable||Sometimes||No pain, as the nerves have been damaged||None|
Ask your pharmacist to help you determine whether a wound requires medical care or if it can be treated at home. They will help you choose the right first-aid products.
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.