SKIN CUTS AND GRAZES
What are cuts and grazes on your skin?
Cuts, scrapes and skin grazes are an inevitable part of life. An accident in the garden or a mishap in the garage can result in an open wound. They are injuries that break the outer layer of skin usually producing a bleed. Cuts describes skin that has been pierced or sliced, and a graze is a roughened, superficial skin abrasion that shows redness and some bleeding. Because any break in the skin, no matter how small, can become infected, even minor injuries should be treated promptly and fairly aggressively.
What can cause skin injuries?
Sharp implements such as knives and razor blades, the edge of a piece of paper or jagged pieces of glass or metal, can easily cut the top layer of the skin. A puncture wound is a small circular penetration by an instrument with a sharp point such as a pin, nail or pencil point. A graze occurs when the skin is literally rubbed away by a rough surface such as gravel or a concrete pavement.
What to do about skin injuries, cuts & grazes:
A cut on the head, face, hand, mouth or foot can bleed profusely because there are many blood vessels close to the surface of the skin in these areas. Cuts on the face, fingers and hands are particularly vulnerable to infection because these parts of the body are not covered with clothing.
Basic first aid should take care of minor cuts and scrapes at home: to stop bleeding, apply firm pressure to the wound with a piece of sterile gauze or a clean cloth. Putting ice on the cut will also stop bleeding because cold constricts the blood vessels and slows blood flow. Wash the wound with water and thoroughly clean out any particles of dirt or foreign matter by holding the wound under running water. Once the injury has been cleaned you can apply lavender oil to the fresh cut or graze to kill germs and help it to heal. Tea tree oil diluted with water will stop infection, as will echinacea. Then cover the wound with a sterile dressing which must be changed frequently and spread Aloe vera gel or calendula cream on the wound to soothe and alleviate inflammation.