Summer activities are a set up for small cuts and scrapes; prepping food for the grill, slipping on wet pool concrete, hiking into those darn sticky bushes. What is the best way to deal with your “owie” once you’ve gotten it? There are a couple simple rules that can give you a better outcome once the damage is done.
First of all, put away that hydrogen peroxide! Why does everyone put themselves through the pain of this bubbling stuff? Water (and soap, if it’s a dirty cut) is adequate for cleaning out a cut after it happens and as it heals. Hydrogen peroxide actually destroys skin cells, and slows down our healing process.
Next, let’s tackle that age-old question; covered or uncovered? When a wound is open (and at risk for infection), you should apply Vaseline or an antibacterial ointment and then cover it with a bandage. Change that bandage at least once a day, and whenever if it gets dirty or wet. Once new skin is covering the cut, you can go bandage free BUT continue to apply a moisturizing ointment like Vaseline or Aquaphor. This will help the wound continue to heal and reduce the scar that will remain. A scab (I hate that word) is a BAD thing. It means the area is too dry and can make your resulting scar more noticeable, especially if you pick at it. Don’t get me started on this..just please don’t do it!
Sometimes a cut is too deep for a home fix. If you can’t push together the sides of the cut, it’s a jagged shape or has remaining debris, head to a friendly medical provider. Warmth, spreading redness or excessive yellow discharge are all signs of infection, and are also red flags.