Types of wounds
There are several types of open wounds and they are typically classified by how they are caused.
- Abrasion – This is caused when your skin scrapes or rubs against a rough surface. Bleeding is usually minimal, but it will need to be scrubbed and cleaned to avoid an infection. Example: road rash
- Laceration – A deep cut or tearing of the skin. These can bleed very quickly. Example: cuts from knives or tools
- Puncture – A small hole in the skin caused by an object with a sharp point. These wounds may not bleed a lot, but if deep enough, they can damage internal organs. This may require a visit to the doctor for a tetanus shot. Example: a prick from a needle or nail
- Avulsion – This is a tearing away of the skin and tissue below it. There is heavy and rapid bleeding. Example: injuries from a dog bite.
Caring for Wounds At Home
We hope your kids don’t experience any wound that requires more care than you can provide at home. Here are a few tips to help you out when they do get hurt:
- Wash the wound – You want to remove all dirt (and anything else) from the area.
- Control the bleeding – Use direct pressure and elevation.
- Wrap it up – Use a sterile bandage (minor wounds should not need a bandage). Be sure to keep it clean and dry for a few days.
- Pain management – Pain comes along with wounds, but you’ll want to use something other than products with aspirin because they can prolong bleeding.
- In addition – It is difficult with young kids, but try to make sure they do not pick at any scabs during the healing process. You will also want to make sure they have a good sunscreen (SPF 30) applied to the area if they are going to be outside.
- Watch your diet – Our bodies heal much faster through the use of vitamins and minerals. Eating a healthy diet, especially vitamin-rich fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, will allow the injury to heal sooner. You should also be sure kids drink plenty of water.
- Check on it – Some wounds should be examined daily. You can use a see-through plastic bandage to make this easier and avoid having to change bandages as often. Try to change the bandages only when they get wet or dirty. For a cut that keeps opening because of its location (like on knee) you can try using a liquid bandage product.
When to see a doctor
All kids are going to get some cuts and scrapes. But, how do you know when a wound will require more than just care at home?
- A wound is deeper than 1/4 inch
- Bleeding doesn’t stop with direct pressure
- The cut is on your child’s face
- Bleeding lasts longer than 20 minutes
- Bleeding is the result of a serious accident
There are a number of ways we can treat a wound. First the area is cleaned and, depending on the severity, numbed. Then the would can be closed using skin glue, staples, or stitches. (We are experts with stitching and mending!) A tetanus shot may also be necessary.
Another option is to let it heal on its own. In this case, the area would be packed with gauze. This will help to prevent an infection or abscesses to form. Doctors might prescribe antibiotics as well if there is a possibility of serious infection. Severe wounds may require surgery.
Serious wounds are going to take time to heal. It could be a few weeks. So, if you take any bandages, gauze or dressing home with you for future care of a wound, be careful to keep them clean and wash your hands before using them. The wound will also need to be disinfected and completely dry before you dress it.
Your biggest concern here is an infection. Notify a doctor as soon as possible if you see these signs of an infection in the area of the wound:
- An increase in draining, pain or redness
- Thick green, yellow or brown pus
- Pus that smells bad
- A fever higher than 100.4F that lasts longer than four hours
- A tender lump in the armpit or groin area
- A wound that is not healing