Having some first-aid skills is an invaluable tool, especially for parents! Kids get cuts and scrapes all the time. And in some cases, they also get deep cuts that will require stitches.

Whatever the case may be, having some working knowledge on how to dress wounds is important, and our AFC Urgent Care Chattanooga team is here to help you feel informed and prepared!

  • Here’s what to do: First, before tending to the wound, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This will help reduce the risk of infecting the cut.
  • What to do next: If the cut is still bleeding, stop the bleeding. Most minor cuts will stop on their own, but deeper cuts won’t. Apply gentle pressure with a clean bandage or cloth and elevate the wound until the bleeding stops.
  • What to do after: Clean the wound. The best way to clean lacerations of all kinds is to rinse the wound with running water, pick out any lingering debris with sanitized tweezers and wash around the wound (not directly on it) with soap. All of this will work to jumpstart the healing process and lower the risk of infection.
  • Next: Cover the wound. Apply a bandage, rolled gauze or gauze held in place with paper tape to keep the cut clean.
  • Later: Be on the lookout for signs of infection. Even if the bleeding has stopped and the cut has been dressed, it can still get infected if it’s deep enough. Things like redness, increasing pain, drainage, warmth and swelling are signs that the cut is infected, so visit our AFC center immediately if this happens.
  • Action steps to take: If you’ve done all of this and your cut is still bleeding, it might need to be stitched up. A couple of tell-tale signs that a cut needs stitches are if it is a half-inch wide or deep and hasn’t stopped bleeding after applying pressure for 10 minutes. If this is the case, visit our AFC center immediately.
  • Something else to know: Keep the wound-dressing fresh by changing it fairly often. Do this at least once a day or whenever the bandage becomes wet or dirty. This will ensure that the laceration or wound is given the optimal conditions to heal.
  • Doctor recommendations: Cuts can be scary, but do your best to remain calm. Always remember to wash your hands and apply pressure to the cut first, even if your or your child’s cut requires medical attention.

If you or your child needs stitches, we’re here for you! Visit AFC Urgent Care Chattanooga today.