Cuts and Scrapes
Beginning walkers take a lot of tumbles and get cuts and scrapes. Fortunately, most are minor and can be treated at home.
Wash your own hands with soap and water first. Use lukewarm water to wash away any blood and grime on the surface of the wound. Clean the cut with mild soap and water, too. Then gently pat the area with a sterile gauze pad to dry. If bleeding hasn't stopped, apply firm pressure for up to five minutes.
Apply antibacterial ointment, such as Neosporin or Bacitracin, to prevent infection, and then cover the wound with a bandage until it heals, says Loraine Stern, MD, a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California at Los Angeles. Keeping the wound covered, rather than allowing a hard scab to form, keeps the area moist, which helps the cut heal faster and with less scarring. Replace the bandage daily and look for signs of infection such as redness or pus.
Call the Doctor If...
The cut is ragged, deep, or longer than an inch; embedded with gravel or dirt; or caused by a puncture wound, rusty object, or animal or human bite. Also call if heavy bleeding continues after at least five minutes of direct pressure.
Apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 daily to a healed wound. The new skin that forms over a cut is more sensitive to sunlight and should be protected.