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How to Treat a Wound

How to Treat a Wound


The skin is the body's largest organ, but it is also its most easily damaged due to its role as the first line of protection for the body. Fortunately, the skin also has a high capacity to heal itself and so most aspects of wound care focus on preventing infection. Deep wounds or wounds in which an arterial bleed is suspected (spurting blood) require medical attention, but otherwise most wounds can be treated without a doctor's supervision.

Step 1

Stop the bleeding. Although most wounds will stop bleeding on their own, if bleeding continues for more than a few minutes, you will need to apply gentle pressure (using a clean cloth or bandage) for up to 30 minutes. If this does not stop the bleeding or if there is blood spurting out, get medical assistance.

Step 2

Clean the wound. Start with clean water (soap can irritate the wound) and try to wash as much dirt as you can out of the area. If bits of dirt or debris remain, pick out the debris using tweezers that have been dipped in alcohol.

Step 3

Apply antibiotics. Neosporin or polysporin are two examples of antibiotic creams/ointments that can be used, both to prevent infection and to keep the surface moist.

Step 4

Cover the wound. Covering the wound with gauze or a bandage will reduce the chance of infection or dirt getting in the wound. You will want to keep the wound covered until it has healed enough that infection is unlikely, in which case the air may help speed the healing process.

Step 5

Change the dressing. You will want to change the dressing (bandage or gauze) on the wound at least daily and more often if it becomes wet or dirty.

Step 6

Watch for infection. If your wound isn't healing or if you're feeling increased pain, swelling or redness, your wound may be infected and you should see your doctor.

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