Thursday, January 2, 2014

How to disinfect a wound while day hiking with children

Should day hiking children be wounded from a fall or other accident, you’ll almost certainly have to treat the injury. That almost always requires disinfecting the wound.

A wound typically is any severe cut of the skin. Internal parts of the body may be exposed. Disinfecting this wound is vital, for the real threat beyond blood loss is an infection setting in.

Stop the bleeding
The first step is to stop the bleeding. This should be done by applying a sterile compress (You should have one in your first-aid kit.) directly to the wound. If the compress soaks through with blood, simply apply another compress directly over it.

If the wound is deep and won’t stop bleeding – this usually is the case when stitches are required – don’t worry about disinfecting the wound. Instead, try to at least slow the bleeding and seek immediate medical attention. The hospital staff applying the stitches will disinfect the wound.

Presuming stitches aren’t needed, once the bleeding is under control, gently remove the compress. If the bleeding resumes, reapply sterile compresses, get the bleeding under control again, and seek immediate medical attention.

Should the bleeding not resume, flush the wound with clean water. Your goal is to get out sand, dirt and debris (such as tiny bits of leaves and dirt) from the wound. Hydrogen peroxide is nice but not necessary for flushing a wound.

Antiobiotic and dressing
Next, apply a triple antibiotic ointment (which also should be in your first-aid kit) to the wound.

Finally, apply clean dressing to the wound. This is best done by applying adhesive bandages in a cross-cross pattern over the length of the cut; be sure to push the wound’s edges together. Then place a sterile wrap over the adhesive bandages.

Keep a close eye on the cut as it heals over the next several days. You don’t want it start to bleeding again, and you don’t want it to become infected. Should either occur, have it looked at by medical professionals.

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