After you suffer a cut or other wound that punctures the outer layer of skin and enters the flesh, it can be difficult to stay calm and think about what to do next. And since even minor cuts can become infected if first aid is not applied quickly and properly, it’s important to know what to do when a cut or wound occurs. This post offers tips about what to do immediately after suffering an accidental wound and the first aid supplies you should have to create your best first aid kit to ensure that you’re prepared to respond quickly and appropriately.
First, Stop the Bleeding
First, find the source of bleeding. If covered by clothing, remove the clothing and apply pressure. Compressing the blood vessels that are bringing blood to the wound is the only way to control bleeding. If you have first aid supplies, pack the wound with gauze as you apply pressure. If your first aid kit contains a clean compress—a special bandage that applies pressure—you may use it instead of gauze. If you don’t have first aid supplies, use any clean cloth, such as a shirt, to apply pressure to the wound opening. If you can’t stop the bleeding in about ten minutes with gentle pressure or elevation, you should seek immediate medical attention. Keep the pressure on until a medical professional takes over.
Second, Clean the Wound
You can also flush the surface of the wound with a mild saline solution made from a small amount of salt diluted in water. This works well because it’s similar to your body’s pH. Antiseptic disinfectants like alcohol or hydrogen peroxide should not be used because they can actually harm the damaged tissue and extend the time it takes to heal. So, it’s a good idea to make or buy some saline solution and put it in your best first aid kit. After the wound is clean, wipe the surface with clean gauze or a clean cloth to make sure it’s dry.
Cleaning the wound also means removing any foreign matter. Your best first aid kit should contain alcohol swabs and tweezers. Sterilize the tweezers with a swab before using them to remove any debris, such as splinters, small stones or shards of glass, from the affected area. Don’t use cotton balls because the cotton may stick to the wound, defeating the goal of removing the foreign material. If you can’t get all the debris out of the wound, then medical attention is required as soon as possible. If removing debris looks like it will cause additional trauma or tearing of the skin, don’t do it—wait for medical care.
Third, Prevent Infection with an Antibiotic
Fourth, Close the Wound
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 or staples. In fact, most patients preferred Zip to stitches.
For wounds larger than 1.5 inches long or are very wide, you should consider seeing a medical professional who can close the wound with stitches.
Always, Be Prepared
- In an in-vivo study, more load in lb. was required to create a 1mm gap between incision edges approximated with Zip than with Ethicon 4-0 Vicryl subcuticular running suture. Data on file.
- Tanaka, Y. et al. Randomized Study of a New Noninvasive Skin Closure Device for Use After Congenital Heart Operations. Ann Thorac Surg 2016.