Everyone gets a cut now and then, making the ability to give first aid for cuts a valuable skill. The initial step in giving first aid for cuts is stopping any bleeding that might be occurring. Next, a cut should be cleaned and properly dressed. Lastly, one of the most important parts of giving first aid for cuts is being able to recognize when professional medical attention is needed, such as when a cut is very deep, bleeding excessively, filled with debris, or shows signs of infection.
When giving first aid for cuts, you should begin by trying to stop the cuts from bleeding. To encourage a cut to stop bleeding, cover it with a clean cloth and then apply pressure to it using the hand or an elastic bandage. Avoid using a tourniquet or other very constrictive device, as these can cause irreparable damage by depriving a body part of oxygenated blood. Elevating the cut body part above the level of the heart also helps slow bleeding. Many cuts will stop bleeding after five to 30 minutes of pressure and elevation.
After all bleeding has stopped, the next step in giving first aid for cuts is cleaning and dressing the cuts. To clean a cut, simply run it beneath warm water. Avoid using soap, hydrogen peroxide, or alcohol, as these may irritate the cut. Once the cut has been cleaned, dab it with some antibiotic ointment to keep it moisturized. Then, cover the cut with a fresh adhesive bandage or with sterile gauze, and change this dressing at least once each day to discourage infection.
Finally, when giving first aid for cuts, it is extremely important to be able to identify indications that a cut is in need of professional medical attention. A cut that is very deep or that continues to bleed profusely after a period of pressure and elevation most likely requires treatment with stitches. If foreign matter such as dirt, gravel, or splinters has gotten lodged in a cut, it may be susceptible to infection. On a related note, if a cut that you recently treated yourself becomes very red, sore, inflamed, or warm, it may have become infected. If a cut shows any of these symptoms, you should seek treatment from a medical professional as soon as possible to prevent scarring, excessive blood loss, and complications which can accompany untreated infections.