Our body is blessed in that many of the minor cuts and scrapes cure by itself and you can also take care of them by yourself. Usually home treatment is fine if the wound is not very deep and not in a place where scarring is a problem, for example your face.
A cut or wound can be treated at home if the bleeding stops in around 10 minutes with gentle pressure. Before deciding that you can treat the wound at home make sure it is cleaned well and no dirt or foreign body is in it. It is still better if you had taken a tetanus shot in the last 10 years.
Let us now look at the stages of wound healing.
Stage 1: The bleeding stops
In the initial stage of the healing process, your body is busy in action to stop the flow of blood. The blood walls narrow to stem the flow of blood through the wound. Within seconds the blood cells called platelets rush to the site. Then the proteins in the blood act like some sort of glue to make the platelets clump together and they clog the opening in the blood vessel. This is known as clot formation, which ultimately plugs the blood flow.
Stage 2: The inflammation starts
The special chemicals released by the blood platelets are what cause the inflammation. There will be swelling and redness around the wound. Thereafter white blood cells hurry to the scene, it is these WBCs that clears the area of bacteria and other germs and prevent further infection. The WBCs not only disinfect the area but also have chemicals that help in growth and repair to the wound site.
Stage 3: Rebuilding begins
It is in this stage that the skin actually starts rebuilding. The blood cells arrive to start the process. They bring the oxygen and nutrients that is required to heal and regrow the damaged blood vessels. The cells make a protein called collagen which acts as a framework to rebuild the area. A scar appears on the wound but it gradually fades away.
Stage 4: The final stretch
The body has provided all the necessary things for your skin to rebuild the wound area. This stage is the healing stage and it is about making the skin healthy and strong. The skin may be stretched and puckered at this stage as the replacement tissues are formed. The complete healing may take days or months depending on the extent of the wound.
The wound care steps:
The first step is to stop the bleeding. Wash your hands and gently put pressure on the wound site with a clean cloth or gauze pad. Keep the pressure for a few minutes.
Next, clean the wound of all dirt and debris to prevent any infection. Use clear running water and never use an antiseptic to clean the wound.
Now, gently apply an antiseptic ointment like Neosporin on the wound. It won’t help in healing faster but will keep infection away.
Next bandage the wound. You need not do this for smaller cuts or wounds. A bandage keeps the wound moist and helps keep out bacteria and infection.
Change the bandage and put on a new clean one at least once a day.
Watch out for infection, any redness in and around the wound, escalation in pain or fever. When in doubt consult your doctor.
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