Kelsey Sauer, Licensed Athletic Trainer
While skin injuries don’t always seem like a big deal, they can cause infection within the body and become a bigger concern if not cared for properly. It is important to know how to properly treat these injuries and when it is necessary to see a health care provider for care. Appropriate treatment of these injures will help to decrease infection and increase healing time.
Common skin injuries include:
- Lacerations (cuts)
- Abrasions (scrapes)
Steps for proper treatment:
- Stop the bleeding
- You will want to start by applying firm pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or sterile gauze.
- If the bleeding begins to seep through the gauze you have already place just add more. Do not remove the gauze as it may cause more bleeding.
- Once bleeding has stopped move to step two - Cleaning.
- Cleaning the wound
- You will want to rinse the wound with water or saline solution.
- There is no need to anything stronger, such as alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
- Do not scrub the wound as you can damage healing tissue.
- Remove any visible debris by cleaning from the inside out, NEVER outside in.
- To remove any debris you can use gauze, cotton tipped applicator or Q-tip.
- If there is a large amount of debris have a health care provider, such as an athletic trainer, assist to ensure that the wound is clean.
- Dressing the wound
- The wound should always be covered as it will help to prevent infection and reopening.
- You will want to cover the wound with nonocclusive dressing, such as non-adherent pads, band-aids or sterile gauze.
- The dressing should be changed on a daily basis or more often if the dressing becomes dirty or saturated.
- Have your athletic trainer inspect and help dress throughout the healing process and especially if there are any signs of infection.
Signs of infection:
- Redness, swelling, heat or pain in the area
- Pus drainage
- Red streaks traveling up or down the extremity from the injury
Call a healthcare provider if:
- Bleeding doesn’t stop
- Wound is on the face (cosmetic reasoning)
- Wound is deeper than a quarter-inch deep or three-quarter inches long
- Stitches need to be placed within six hours after the injury
- You can see fat or muscle
- If you can’t get all of the debris out as the wound was caused by something rusty or very dirty
- Notice signs of infection