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Skin Problems - Wounds and Cuts

Skin wounds

Every time your child's skin breaks, she can be infected with tetanus. The first thing you should do is check that her immunization is up-to-date. Keep your eyes open for swelling, redness, tenderness, warmth, or oozing of pus from the wound

Bruises: Apply an ice pack or a cold compress for half an hour. Call the doctor immediately if the bruise has been caused by catching the affected part in the spokes of a moving wheel. Bruises that seem to have no explicable reason or that appear simultaneously with fever should also be reported to the doctor.

Scrapes or abrasions: The top layer of the skin is scraped off leaving the skin raw and tender. There may even be slight bleeding. Gently remove dirt and foreign matter from the wound with soap and water using sterile cotton or gauze. If the bleeding does not stop on its own, you may need to apply pressure. Cover the wound with a sterile nonstick bandage.

Small cuts: Wash the wound with soap and water and hold it under running water to flush out the impurities. A butterfly bandage will protect the wound while it heals.

Large cuts: Raise the injured part above the level of the heart if possible. Using a sterile gauze pad, nappy, or a sanitary towel, apply pressure to try to stop the bleeding. If the bleeding does not stop in 15 minutes, apply more pressure using more gauze pads or cloth. 

Splinters or slivers

Unless a splinter is very large or has become deeply embedded, the best thing to do is to leave it alone. When the skin grows, small splinters come out on the surface and are automatically expelled. 

If a splinter becomes infected, you will need to drain the pus from the infected area using a sterilized needle. You can sterilize the needle by boiling it in hot water for five minutes or by passing it five or six times through a flame. The next step is to calm your child down. Do not tell her that it is not going to hurt, because it will and your child will not trust you again. Numb the affected area with an ice pack. Wash the affected area with soap and water. Get someone to help you to hold the affected area steady. When the needle is cold, gradually break the skin. If one end of the sliver is protruding, try to pull it out using sterilized tweezers. Once you have removed the splinter, wash the area again.


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