Truth: Hydrogen peroxide can actually be toxic to the healing cells in a wound. "Parents often think that it's doing its job because it bubbles a bit when it hits the skin," says David Mooney, MD, trauma program director at Children's Hospital Boston. It's better to use over-the-counter saline solution or plain soap and water.
Truth: Before a scab forms, it's normal for a cut to have some yellowish pus. "This is a sign that the body is trying to make a scab to protect the wound," Dr. Mooney explains. However, once a scab has formed, pus that's thick and green or has a foul odor could be a sign of infection.
Truth: Covering cuts and scrapes with a bandage helps keep them clean. It also prevents children from picking at scabs and touching their wounds -- habits that can lead to infection, says David Spiro, MD, chief of pediatric emergency medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, in Portland. He recommends replacing the bandage once a day.
Truth: The skin around the cut starts to pull together during healing, so it can be itchy. But itchiness can also be caused by an allergic reaction to the ointment or an infection like yeast or fungus.
Truth: Tearing a bandage off too fast can cause a cut to reopen. Instead, remove it slowly, in the direction of hair growth. If the bandage won't budge, dab rubbing alcohol or water on the edge to loosen the adhesive.
Truth: Most cuts heal within two weeks (five days for ones on the face). Cuts that ooze fluid, don't scab, are swollen, or aren't showing signs of healing need to be checked by a doctor.
Stock up on these supplies to treat everything from tiny cuts to major scrapes:
Copyright © 2007. Used with permission from the November 2007 issue of Parents magazine.
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