How to Properly Care for Cuts and Lacerations

It can be tempting to panic when suffering a scary-looking cut or laceration, but it’s in your best interest to keep a cool head and think through the basic steps of caring for these types of injuries.

Not sure how to care for lacerations? Our team at AFC Urgent Care South Charlotte walks you through how to perform basic first aid below, so keep reading!

  • Here’s what to do: Wash your hands before messing with the wound. This will help you avoid potential infection.

  • What to do next: Stop the bleeding. Minor cuts and scrapes usually stop bleeding on their own, but deeper lacerations don’t. You can help stop the bleeding by applying gentle pressure on the cut with a clean bandage or cloth and elevating the wound until the bleeding stops. If the laceration doesn’t stop bleeding after 10 minutes, sutures are usually necessary.

  • What to do after: Clean the wound by rinsing it under running water and washing the surrounding area with soap. Additionally, remove any leftover dirt or debris with sanitized tweezers.

  • After that: Dress the wound. Apply a bandage, rolled gauze or gauze held in place with paper tape. Dressing and covering the wound keeps it clean. If the injury is just a minor scrape or scratch that has quickly stopped bleeding, leave it uncovered.

  • Next: If the cut is small, apply an antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly to encourage healing and prevent scarring. If your cut or laceration is deeper, however, it’s best to just keep your wound dressing fresh.

  • Action steps to take: Keep the wound dressing fresh. This will ensure that the laceration or wound is given the optimal conditions to heal.

  • Doctor recommendations: If your laceration is more than half an inch long or deep, has ragged edges, or muscle or bone is visible, visit our AFC center right away to get it stitched up.

  • Lastly: Watch for signs of infection. Things like redness, increasing pain, drainage, warmth and swelling are signs that the cut is infected, so visit our AFC center immediately if this happens.

Afraid your cut might need stitches? Visit our AFC Urgent Care South Charlotte center for the care you need!