Caring for cuts and burns around the house
Updated: Jan 6
Injuries can happen any time of year anywhere around the house. Here’s how to treat minor cuts and burns and how to know when it’s time to see us at IEP Urgent Care.
Prevention and preparation are key to avoiding injuries, especially in the kitchen.
For example, if you just opened a can, be sure you carefully dispose of the lid immediately so that its sharp edge doesn’t cause an injury. The old chef’s adage, “a falling knife has no handle,” is true. Remind yourself and others. A dull knife can lead to slippage and injury, so before you begin cooking, make sure your knives are properly sharpened. Be mindful of pot/pan handles. Having all your ingredients ready to go before starting (mise en place) is not only more efficient, but also much safer, reducing the chance of injury. Place a towel under your cutting board to keep it from slipping.
If you do suffer a minor cut or scrape, The Mayo Clinic provides an excellent care guide. Start by washing your hands. If the bleeding doesn’t stop on its own, you may apply gentle pressure with a clean bandage and elevate the wound. Unless you have an allergy, apply an antibiotic such as Neosporin. Cover with a clean bandage and change the dressing at least once a day. If it’s a particularly nasty or dirty cut, and you haven’t had a tetanus shot in five years, you should get one. Tetanus shots are available at all IEP Urgent Care locations.
If the area of the cut feels numb, if it’s so deep that bleeding will not stop, or if it was caused by a bite or other unsanitary foreign object, seek medical care immediately. If you see any signs of infection after the injury, see us or your primary care physician immediately.
For minor burns, The Mayo Clinic provides an excellent care guide as well.
Hold the area of the burn under cool running water for about ten minutes, remove any rings or other tight items near the burn area right away, apply lotion such as aloe vera, and cover the burn with a loosely wrapped bandage, which helps with healing and reduces pain. Take an over the counter pain reliever as needed.
Seek medical attention immediately if a burn is deep and involves all the layers of the skin, causes the skin to be dry and leathery, appears charred or has patches of white, brown, or black, is larger than three inches in diameter, is accompanied by smoke inhalation, begins swelling very quickly, or was cause by electrical current or lightning. The Mayo Clinic also advises that a minor burn might need emergency care if it affects the eyes, mouth, hands, or genital areas. Babies and older adults might need emergency care for minor burns as well.