Here’s the deal: You have cut, burned, bruised, or sprained yourself or part of yourself. You have to take care of the injuries, but you don’t know how. All you know is that you are scared to tell anybody what happened, for fear they’ll find out how it happened. This information on basic first aid is no substitute for a doctors advice. All it is is what I, a cutter, have done for myself. It seems to work. Please remember, I have not received any formal medical education, and therefore this advice is strictly objective. I am not responsible for additional injury incured because you followed it.
Okay. You cut yourself. You want to take care of the cut, so it doesn’t get infected. But you’re not quite sure how. I have some basic things listed below. Once again, I am not a medical professional. This is just what has worked for me.
Very little blood, more like scratches or paper cuts.
- After the cut has stopped bleeding, wash the skin around it, being careful so you don’t irritate it more.
- Put some kind of anti-biotic cream on it, just a little bit, so it doesn’t get infected.
- If the cut is in a place that could get rubbed a lot (i.e. elbow, waist band, ankles), cover it using either tape and gauze or a Band-Aid.
- Keep an eye on the cut. If it gets really red, or pussy, clean it out good. If it’s still like that, or if it gets worse, by the next day, go to the doctor. It’s probably infected.
- The cut should take on average 5-10 days to heal. It might be a little more or less, depending on your health and the nature of the cut. If it’s on a joint, it will take longer.
Bleeds more, the edges don’t close up on their own. Does not go through any veins and there are no little lumps floating up (these would be fat).
- Hold something on the cut, like a wash cloth or part of a shirt, and push down. Do this until it stops bleeding.
- Once it stops bleeding, very carefully shave the skin around it.
- Use Butterfly Stitches to pull the edges together. If you don’t have any Steri-strips, you can use tape cut into strips about an inch long and about 1/8 inch wide.
- To use Butterfly Stitches, find where the cut gapes open the worst. Stick one end of the tape or Steri-strip to the skin on one side, so that if you were to press it down flat, it would be off center. Now pull it across to the other side of the cut until the edges are together. Press the tape/Steri-strip down.
- Continue this along the length of the cut until the cut is tightly closed.
- Change the Butterfly Stitches every day, preferably right after you shower or bathe. Leave them on when you are in the shower or tub! Watch the cuts for signs of infection (puss, red puffy edges, swelling around it, more pain than normal, hot skin around it), and if you notice it seems infected, get yourself to a doctor.
- For the first few days, until it stops weeping, also cover it with a bandage, preferably elastic for compression. Try to avoid bumping the cut. Also, try not to scratch it, because the Butterfly Stitches are going to itch.
- Move the areas around the cut every day, because otherwise the scar will get tight and it will cause problems later.
- It should take between 7 and 20 days to heal. Keep the butterfly stitches on it until it is completely healed.
- Especially at night, be sure to keep it covered.
Edges gape, deep, you can maybe see fat, and it could go through a vein.
- Use a clean cloth or gauze pad to put pressure on the cut. Keep pressure on it for a half an hour.
- After a half hour, change the cloth/gauze. Wrap an elastic bandage around it for several turns, and tape it securely in place.
- Try to avoid moving the area around the cut for the first 24 hours. After that, move, but cautiously.
- After 24 hours, close the cut with Butterfly Stitches as described for Moderate cuts.
- Change the stitches every day. Try not to get the cut wet at all for the first five days. Keep an elastic bandage over it for 7-10 days.
- Use the Butterfly Stitches for at least 2 weeks, longer if you have to. When you stop using them, the cut should conist of a thin purplish scar.
- After the first week, make sure to move the area around the cut. Otherwise the scar could get stiff.
- Again, if the cut at any point appears infected, get to a doctor. Infection is no game.
- Keep the cut protected for as long as you need. After the scar is completely formed, begin gently massaging it. This will help it to stay soft, and not get big.
Bleeds quite a bit. Small peices of fat float up, they look like little rice crispies, kind of. It is at least a quarter of an inch deep.
- Use a clean cloth or gauze pad to put pressure on the cut. Push hard, for at least a half an hour. As soon as the blood soaks through, change the cloth/gauze.
- If, after a half an hour, it is still bleeding a lot, get to a hospital. By a lot, I mean more than just a little bit in the bottom. I mean like oozing out.
- If it has stopped bleeding, or mostly so, put a clean cloth or gauze pad over it and wrap it tightly. Leave that there for at least another half hour.
- After the second half hour, take the wrapping and cloth/gauze off. Look carefully at the cut. If there are any bones, tendons, or muscles showing, go to the hospital.
- If nothing bad is showing, cover it again and wrap it tight. Leave it there for a day.
- After a day, take the dressing off. Put Butterfly Stitches on the cut. Use more than you think you need, cuz otherwise they won’t work. Put a gauze pad over the top of the stitches and wrap an elastic bandage around that two or three times.
- Avoid getting the Butterfly Stitches wet for at least seven days. Change the dressing daily, but leave the Butterfly Stitches in place for two days before you change them.
- Carefully watch for signs of infection.
- Try to keep the area around the cut somewhat still for the first week or two. After that, move it, carefully.
- Use the Butterfly Stitches for at least two weeks, probably more like three.
- Keep the elastic bandage for the first two weeks. After that, if the cut is healing, you can get rid of it.
- If the cut doesn’t seem to be healing, or the areas around it don’t feel right, see a doctor. It’s possible you could have damaged tendons, nerves, or muscles.
Here’s the scoop: You’ve burned yourself. It hurts. You wish maybe you hadn’t done it. Or maybe you’re glad you did. Either way, you have to take care of it, or you could end up really sick. So, here’s what you can do for yourself:
- Run cool water over it. Gently. Don’t turn the sink on full blast; this will only irritate it more. Do this for about five or ten minutes.
- Gently dry the burn. Be careful not to rub it, just pat.
- Put Bacitracin or some other anti-biotic cream on it.
- Cover the burn with gauze. Wrap it around at least three times. This will protect it, and keep it moist.
- Change the dressing daily until the burn is no longer sore. Then leave it uncovered.
- Be very careful not to bump the burn into anything. Also watch it closely for infection.
Any burn worse than the one described above should be seen by a doctor. If you don’t want to go to the doctor, tough. Make up something about how it happened if you have to. Just go.
Somehow, you’ve sprained something. It could be your ankle, your knee, your elbow, wrist, shoulder… even a finger. What can you do for it?
- If the sprained part is very swollen, and is purple or very red, go to a doctor. It could need surgery, or may be broken.
- Put ice on the sprain for fifteen minutes at least three times a day for at least two weeks.
- Wrap the joint in an ace bandage or with athletic tape. If you’re not sure how, there should be instructions in the package if you buy tape or an ace wrap.
- Rest the joint for two to fourteen days. By rest, I mean a sling for an elbow or shoulder, and crutches for a knee or ankle.
- When the pain permits, begin to gently move the joint, only as far as is reasonably comfortable.
- For about three months, wear some kind of protection on the joint when you do active stuff. You can probably buy some kind of brace or support at your local drug store or Wal Mart.
- The only exceptions are fingers. Fingers only take three weeks to heal, at most. Unless you completely tore something. With a finger, splint it for a week. Then tape it to the next finger as long as you think you need to.
Remember, none of this advice should replace that of a physician. This is just what’s worked for me. Take care of yourself, okay? Also, if anybody wants to, they can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org