If you are active in the outdoors, accidents can be common while camping, mountain biking, rockclimbing, hiking, kayaking or other adventurous activity. Some cuts are easily closed by a simple bandage, but other minor cuts can’t be closed by a traditional first aid kit bandage. While it’s true that the human body can repair most superficial injuries, this does not mean you should sit back and wait for your body to do the work on its own. You should take quick action to close these wounds.
Minor cuts may not seem like urgent matters, but even small wounds can have the potential for infection and other complications when left untreated. It’s essential for everyone to know a few first aid basics and to and carry the right tools in their adventure medical kit when these injuries happen. Let’s take a look at the top reasons you should take quick action to close even a minor wound.
Reason 1: Ensure that healing can begin
When you sustain an injury that causes bleeding, healing begins with the body’s blood clotting process. You may stop the bleeding and start the clotting process by applying gentle pressure with some sterile gauze pads from your first aid kit.
Clotting takes place as particles in your blood called platelets stick to the cut edges of the damaged blood vessels. These platelets send out chemical signals to attract more platelets. Then a platelet plug forms and the external bleeding stops. The platelets send out chemical signals that attract strand-like proteins in the blood which bond together to form an internal seal.
Promoting blood clotting right after the injury is important to healing and protecting the wound from further damage.
Reason 2: Block microbial invaders
Since our skin is our body’s first line of defense against external germs and bacteria, having a cut, puncture, laceration or other open wound is all it takes to open the door to microbial invaders. Keeping the wound clean and dry is essential to enabling the healing process. Remember to wash your hands whenever possible, before administering bandages, dressings and other first aid to an open wound.
Reason 3: Prevent dirt and debris from causing infection
In addition to microbial invaders, dirt and other foreign matter on the surface of the wound can make infection more likely, particularly if the injury isn’t properly closed or covered. The body’s normal clotting and scabbing process is aimed at protecting the wound from infection by foreign matter. However, without the proper wound covering and closure, the normal stretching of the skin, particularly on areas such as knees and elbows, can cause the wound to reopen and become vulnerable to both visible and invisible sources of contamination.
Reason 4: Prevent worsening infections
Swiftly applied first aid can keep smaller infections from escalating out of control into much more serious conditions. While the body’s initial reaction to the wound is to cause inflammation, swelling, and to send infection-busting white blood cells to the affected area, the infection still can progress to more serious symptoms. If left unchecked, an infected wound might develop green, brown or yellow pus, redness, yellow drainage, and local pain, or even a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Acting quickly to apply first aid and close the wound is critical.
Reason 5: Guard against serious complications
Bacterial infections from an infected open wound can lead to far more serious conditions. For example, clostridium and streptococcus bacteria are known to lead to tissue loss and sepsis, which is a systemic infection of the whole body. Bacterial infections can also lead to tetanus, which in turn causes lockjaw, or constricted muscles in the neck and jaw.
Make sure that you act quickly to treat your wound with antibiotic ointments or creams that you should keep as part of your first aid kit. If you do get a more serious infection, seek medical treatment. Your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotic medications and/or administer a tetanus shot to protect the patient from developing lockjaw, among other medically necessary measures.
Reason 6: Prevent unsightly scarring
Depending on the severity of the open wound, the affected site might be left with an unsightly scar or other deformity following the healing process. The manner in which first aid is given and the wound is closed impacts the amount of scarring that results.
Scarring is caused because the body repairs wounds by sending collagen to the area. Collagen bonds the two sides of the wound together, but it isn’t the same texture as the original skin cells. The difference between the collagen repair and the natural skin on either side is noticeable as a scar. So, closing the wound as quickly and cleanly as possible is important to prevent an excess of scar-causing collagen from filling in gaps.
Reason 7: Buying time
Accidents happen without warning. If you’re not near professional medical help, the type of supplies you’re carrying in your adventure medical kit, first aid kit or backpack—along with your knowledge of first aid—could make all the difference.
If you or someone with you is injured, acting quickly will allow you to stabilize the open wound and buy time until professional medical care can be given. At the emergency room, doctors and nurses may apply topical anesthetics to numb the wounded area in order to clean and close it more thoroughly.
Be Prepared to Act Quickly
Using the proper first aid techniques and bringing along a well-stocked first aid kit will enable you to act quickly and avoid problems with an open wound.
Just as you want to have the latest and greatest sports and safety equipment available for outdoor activities, such as rockclimbing, hunting, camping, hiking, and kayaking, your first aid kit also needs to have the most advanced supplies possible—such as ZipStitch.
ZipStitch is the most advanced wound closure device available without a prescription. It is designed to enable virtually anyone to professionally close wounds that can’t be closed with bandages, on the spot, wherever they may be.
The innovative design is both easy to use and effective. The device consists of two 1.5 inch strips of a unique hydrocolloid pressure-sensitive adhesive and four precision zip-ties made of a medical-grade polymer that connect the 2 adhesive strips. The zip-tie strips enable micro-adjustment to precisely close the wound.
- Wound closure without needles, skin puncturing and associated pain
- Easy to handle and control
- Ability to adjust and customize the tension across the length of the wound so users can precisely control how they close the wound
- ZipStitch acts as a scaffold or cage around the wound, isolating and protecting the wound from user movement that can pull on the wound and disrupt healing
The technology has been used in operating rooms and ERs around the world since 2014. To date, Zip technology has been used as a non-invasive alternative to stitches to close wounds in over 500,000 procedures. It has been proven safe and effective in over a dozen clinical studies, delivering 8X better wound protection and less scarring than stitches and staples. In fact, most patients preferred Zip to stitches.
Also, remember to pack clean, sterile, individually wrapped bandages, gauze pads, first aid creams, antiseptic solutions, first aid tape and scissors.
Through careful preparation of your first aid kit and knowledge of first aid steps, you’ll be able to stay calm, while taking quick action to stop bleeding and close and secure an open wound. This will lead to better outcomes that will help get you or your loved one back to the outdoor activities you love.