One of the best ways to prevent skin infection is by learning how to clean wounds properly. When dirt or other contaminants are not properly rinsed away, this courts infection within the skin that could escalate into something more serious. First aid basics for wounds are your best defense.
For instance, if you puncture, scrape or cut yourself, the best course of action is to first run cool water over the wound to flush any dirt or contaminants out. Do not soak the area but rather hold it under running water or pour water over it.
Next, you will want to clean the skin that is surrounding the affected area using soap, cool water and a washcloth. You do not want the soap getting into the wound as it might burn and become irritated, but washing around the area will prevent further spread of contaminants. You can use sterilized tweezers to remove any particles in the wound that could not be washed out by the water.
Bleeding is actually an important step in the cleaning process. You will discover that most small scrapes or cuts stop bleeding rather quickly; however, with an injury on the head or facial area, you will bleed quite a bit due to the prolific number of blood vessels in the area.
To stop the bleeding of the wound, use the cleanest towel, tissue or surgical gauze and hold it over the area with a gentle, unwavering pressure. When the blood soaks through, do not remove it but rather put more gauze on the top. Sometimes, you can raise the wound above your heart, especially if it is on the arm, and it will help slow the bleeding.
When possible, do not cover up a wound as it needs to dry naturally and heal. However, if this is not an option, use a band aid or gauze and tape, to hold the bandage in place. You must change this gauze or band aid at least twice a day to allow it to air out. And when you have a particularly significant amount of body area covered in scrapes or other wounds, the area should be kept moist so as to keep scarring to a minimum while still promoting healing.
Antibiotic cream can help scrapes and cuts to heal by blocking infection from entering the body via the application of the cream. Also, do not pick scabs as they are viewed as natures band aid and the best form of protection for your wound. As your skin heals underneath the scab, the scab will eventually fall off on its own.
You should see your doctor when you might have a need for stitches. Jagged or uneven skin around a wound requires assistance to close properly, especially if you want to keep scarring to a minimum. Skin adhesive or stitches may be used, depending on the nature of the wound. Other reasons to seek help from your doctor include having a strange discharge coming from a wound or if the wound continues to bleed regardless of pressure applied to it.
In addition, medical intervention is necessary when you have cut yourself with a piece of metal that is old or rusty. In this case, a tetanus shot is certainly a requirement. Red streaks or tender, swollen areas are strong indications of skin infection and likely requires oral antibiotics to clear it up.