44 FIRST AID AND WOUND CARE

From the moment your child takes their first steps, they are bound to have the odd fall as they learn, develop and play. Even as adults, it’s not uncommon to experience the occasional cut or graze. Whilst the body heals itself quickly, applying simple first aid can help prevent infections to allow minor wounds to heal quickly.

Why is first aid important?

When our skin is healthy and intact it provides a natural barrier to germs. But when our skin is broken, for example due to a cut, graze or bite, the door is open for germs to enter our bodies.

Wounds become infected when:

  • Germs that normally live harmlessly on our bodies enter the wound from the surrounding healthy skin
  • The wound gets contaminated with germs from dirt, animals or people during injury
  • Airborne germs land on a wound
  • A wound is touched with unwashed hands or other things that are contaminated with germs and bacteria

Whether a wound becomes infected and how quickly it becomes infected depends upon a number of factors. These include the type of contaminating bacteria, the type of wound, the depth of the wound, the location, the level of blood supply to the area, the presence of contaminating material and the level of the body’s immune response to the invading microorganisms. It is recognised that one of the outcomes of a wound becoming infected is that it will take longer to heal. Using antiseptics, therefore, is a valuable precaution to help prevent infection and any subsequent delay in wound healing.

Simple first aid to prevent infection in minor wounds

  • Clean your hands before and after touching a wound using an antimicrobial soap, or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • Gently dry the skin around the wound
  • Clean the wound
  • Protect the wound by covering it and change the dressing regularly
  • Remember good hand washing hygiene and wash your hands afterwards.

Simple first aid to prevent infection in minor wounds (cuts and skin grazes, insect stings and bites)