Cut and Scrapes
It’s hard to image a better covering than your skin. It keeps you warm, holds your insides in, and keeps the outdoor out. It’s remarkably tough, and it even repairs itself when it gets worn or damaged. Just try to find another coat that does that!
Your skin may be tough, but it isn’t indestructible. A slip of a kitchen knife or a tumble off the curb can cut or tear through the protective layers. Given time, your skin will heal the damage – but in the meantime it hurts like crazy. What can you do?
For starters, of course, you have to stop the bleeding. Then you can take a few steps to speed healing and help the body’s natural defense to their best work. Here’s what doctors recommend.
Stop the bleeding . The first thing you need to do for any cut or scrape is to stop the bleeding as soon as possible. Using a piece of gauze or even your hand, apply direct pressure to the wound for five or ten minutes. (If necessary, you can continue applying the pressure for up to thirty minutes). This will help the blood clot, which should stop the bleeding. If it doesn’t stop, you need to see a doctor right away.
Clean it well. Once the bleeding stops, it’s important to clean the area thoroughly to prevent an infection. Wash it well with soap and water for several minutes. Then apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection, and cover the wound with an adhesive bandage or a piece of clean, sterile gauze. The dressing should be snug, but not tight.
Let it breathe . Even though it’s always a good idea to wear a bandage to prevent infection, it’s also important to allow fresh air to reach the wound. Doctors often recommend leaving wounds uncovered, as long as they won’t be exposed to grit or anything else that will get inside.
Eat for healing . Your body consumes enormous amounts of nutrients when it’s in the midst of healing. Doctors recommend eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. These foods are rich sources of vitamin C and other compounds called bioflavonoids, which are known to speed wound healing. Foods especially high in these include kiwi, oranges, apples, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, pineapples, bananas, and grapefruits.