People love spending time in the outdoors to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, but experts warn that this also increases the risk of cuts, scrapes and puncture wounds.
In the event of these types of injuries, doctors from Wake Forest Baptist
Medical Center advised the first step to take is to assess if the wound is
serious. Taking immediate action can help injuries heal faster and prevent
infection. They noted, however, most often these injuries will not require a
trip to the emergency department.
"There's definitely an increase in these types of injuries at this time of
year," Dr James Guerrini, medical director of Wake Forest Baptist Health Urgent
Care, said in a medical center news release. "Fortunately, most of them are
minor and can be treated effectively at home."
Simple first-aid is often enough to treat cuts and scrapes from outdoor
activities. When treating a minor wound, the American College of Emergency
Physicians offers the following tips:
- Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and warm water or use an antibacterial
- Apply direct pressure with a clean cloth, paper towel or piece of gauze to
the injured area to stop the bleeding.
- Clean the wound with cool water and mild soap, and gently dry the area.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment to the wound to reduce the risk for
- Cover the wound with a sterile bandage.
"Cuts and scrapes are common, so everybody should know how to deal with
them," Guerrini added. "Proper treatment administered quickly can prevent
infection, promote healing and otherwise keep something minor from becoming
In some cases, however, emergency medical attention is required. The US
National Institutes of Health advised seeking urgent care for the following:
- Wounds that are very large or bleeding excessively.
- Injuries that are on the face or near a bone.
- Injuries that have caused people to lose feeling or function in the affected
- Injuries caused by a human or animal bite.
- Wounds caused by a rusty object.
- Wounds with objects or debris stuck inside.
A doctor should also be consulted about wounds that do not appear to be
healing after 48 hours or injuries that are red, swollen, pus-filled or show
other signs of infection.
The experts noted that getting the tetanus vaccine can help protect against
the serious bacteria-borne illness that infects the body through cuts and
puncture wounds. They pointed out that protection against tetanus doesn't last a
lifetime and adults should get a tetanus booster shot every 10 years.
The American Academy of Family Physicians provides more first-aid
tips for cuts and scrapes.