Minor Injuries: Cuts And Grazes
Most cuts and grazes can be easily treated at home by first washing and drying your hands thoroughly, cleaning the wound under running water (without antiseptic as it slows down the healing process), patting the area dry and applying a sterile adhesive dressing.
However, it is important to seek medical advice if you think the wound is infected. A wound is more likely to get infected if it has been contaminated with soil, pus, body fluids or faeces, has something in it like a tooth or glass, has a jagged edge, or is longer than 5cm. Signs that a wound is infected are swelling or pus forming in the infected area, redness, increasing pain in the wound, swollen glands or a high temperature.
More serious cuts and grazes may need attention at A&E. You should got to A&E if you:
- are bleeding from an artery
- cannot stop bleeding
- feel numb around the wound
- Have severe pain and extensive bruising
- have a cut to the face
- have an infected cut on your hand
- have something in the wound
- havea complex or extensive cut
Minor Injuries: Strains And Sprains
A sprain occurs when one or more of your ligaments have been stretched, twisted or torn, usually because excessive force has been applied to a joint. The ligaments are strong bands of connected tissue around joints that connect bones together. Sprains usually happen to the knees, ankles, wrists and thumbs.
A strain occurs when muscle fibres stretch or tear. They usually occur when the muscle has been stretched beyond its limits or been forced to contract too quickly. Strains are particularly common in legs and back, such as hamstring or lumbar strains.
Sprains and strains are most likely to happen if you overreach, change direction suddenly, fall and land awkwardly or if you collide with something or someone. You are more likely to get injured if you don’t exercise regularly, you have poor technique, you don’t warm up properly, or you are tired.
Preventing Sprains and Strains
- Warming up properly before you exercise
- Avoid exercising or or playing sports when you are tired
- Keeping walkways, stairs and driveways free of clutter, putting sand on icy patches, etc to avoid falls
- Not running or walking on uneven surfaces
- Eating a healthy diet to keep your muscles strong
Treating Sprains And Strains
If the injury is only minor you can treat it yourself by avoiding “HARM” and using “PRICE” therapy. For the first 72 hours after a muscle strain or sprain you should avoid “HARM“:
- Heat such as hot bath, saunas and heat packs
- Alcohol as this will increase bleeding and swelling and slow healing
- Running or any other exercise as it could cause more damage
- Massage which may increase bleeding or swelling
But you should use “PRICE” therapy:
- Protect the injured area using a support
- Rest the injured joint or muscle for 48-72 hours
- Ice wrapped in a damp towel should be applied for 10-15 minutes every 2-3 hours in the first 48-72 hours
- Compress or bandage the area to limit swelling and movement using a simple elastic bandage
- Elevate the injured area and support it on a pillow to reduce swelling
For further advice about minor injuries speak to our pharmacist in any branch of Newline Pharmacy.
- When should you seek medical help for a wound?
- When should you go to A&E?
- Name 2 signs that a wound is infected
- What should you do before dressing a cut at home?
- What is a sprain?
- What is a strain?
- What is a ligament?
- When are you more at risk of injury?,/li>
- How can you prevent strains and sprains?
- What does PRICE stand for?
[expand title=”Quiz Answers”]
- If the wound appears to be infected
- You can’t stop the bleeding, the area around the wound is numb, there is severe pain, it is a facial wound, a cut on the hand appears infected, there is a foreign body in the wound, it is a complex cut
- Swelling and/or pus in the affected area, redness spreading, increasing pain, high temperature, swollen glands
- Wash and dry your hands thoroughly
- When a ligament has been stretched, twisted or torn
- When muscle fibres stretch or tear
- Strong bands of tissue around your joints that connect your bones to one another
- Lack of regular exercise, poor technique, inadequate warm up or faitigue
- Warm up properly, avoid exercise when you are tired, take precaution against falling, avoid running on uneven surfaces, eat a healthy diet
- Protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation