Wounds typically cause discomfort but the degree of pain tends to vary based on the nature, severity and location of the injury. The most painful are burns as well as scrapes, cuts and blisters. Even though a puncture wound tends to hurt less, it can be serious if it is left untreated. For wounds, there are certain first aid measures that you can perform.
- Immediately take care of the wound. Even a minor wound can become infected if bacteria will build up in the wound site. For minor wounds, you have to perform the appropriate first aid at home.
- For a puncture wound by stepping on a rusty nail, it is important to consult a doctor right away because a tetanus shot might be given. In case you do not know whether you are due for a tetanus shot, do not take any changes and call your doctor. If the bite is from a human or animal, always seek medical attention. For cuts that are deep or with jagged edges, it would require stitches to seal the wound.
- Clean the wound with water. Do not use hydrogen peroxide, soap or iodine since it will cause irritation. Simply hold the wound under running water to remove any dirt or debris. Use sterilized tweezers to remove any remaining debris. In case the wound is difficult to clean, visit your doctor because it can trigger an infection. In case a large object is embedded in the wound, do not remove it and take the individual to the emergency department.
- Once the wound is clean, you have to apply an antibiotic ointment 1-3 times a day to prevent infection and cover it with a sterile bandage. Prior to applying the ointment, always clean the wound. Discontinue the use of the ointment in case you develop a rash or other reactions. Make sure that the bandage is changed daily and utilize soap to clean the skin surrounding the wound.
- For wounds that continue to bleed, use a clean cloth to apply direct pressure. Hold the pressure for 20 minutes while elevating the area if possible. In case the bleeding persists after 20 minutes of pressure or spurts out, seek medical care.
- Observe the wound to ensure that it is healing. In case the wound does not start to heal or turns red, warm, swells or the surrounding skin has red-colored streaks, you have to seek medical care right away.
How to minimize the pain
For minor wounds, there are simple steps that you can follow:
- Cover the wound for protection from further injury
- Change the bandage on a daily basis to keep it clean and prevent infection
- Over-the-counter pain medications can be taken to ease the pain
- Instruct the individual to get enough rest and observe a healthy diet
For minor burns, you can follow these steps to minimize the pain.
- Hold the burn under cool running water, apply a cool cloth or soak in a basin of cool water
- For blisters, avoid breaking to minimize risk for infection
- Apply an antibiotic ointment on the burn and cover with a sterile bandage
- Over-the-counter pain medications can be administered
With these first aid measures, the pain associated with wounds can be minimized.