How to Make Cuts Heal Faster

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In order to make cuts heal faster, it's important to first determine if the cut will heal on its own or if other measures need to be taken. Discover the importance of good irrigation when cleaning wounds with help from a pediatrician in this free video on helping cuts to heal.

Part of the Video Series: Medical Conditions & Treatments
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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we are going to talk about how to make cuts heal faster. Now honestly I am not sure if I know of a way to make a cut heal faster than it is naturally going to heal, but there are some important things to do. Most of them involve common sense, but some of them may be a little bit subtle. The most important thing when you have a cut or any disrupture of the skin surface is to figure out whether it is going to heal on it's own or whether you are going to need some method of putting the skin surface back together to help with healing. There are a couple of ways we do this. Everybody is familiar with sutures where we actually use a needle and thread to hold the skin together, but more recently we have seen advances in using super glue honestly in a sterile fashion to glue the skin surfaces together. There are some places that works well, there are some that it doesn't. So how do you know? Well a cut that is superficial just involving the top layer of the skin is probably going to be fine, but if you can see deep into the cut, if you see muscle tissue or if you just can't really see the bottom of it you probably need to seek care. Likewise if the cut might be contaminated with some sort of foreign matter that doesn't wash out easily, and the same if it looks deep enough that it is not going to wash out it probably needs to be anesthetized, and irrigated thoroughly in a medical office or an emergency room or urgent care setting. So you want to look at it, and see how bad is this. Second of all if the cut involves the hand or the face you want to be especially cautious. Lacerations, that is a fancy word for cut of course, of the hand can effect really critical structures nerve, bones, joints, tendons things that if they are damaged may never really heal properly. So have great care. Even if it is the palm of the hand. If it looks somewhat deep have somebody get a look at it, because a hand expert or in the case of the face a plastic surgeon may need to be the one who figures out what to do. And a simple everyday cut that obviously is going to heal okay what do you want to do. You want to clean it off. Now soap and water is fine for this. You want to throw some peroxide in there as well that is great, but the most important thing is good irrigation. Get out any particles that may be left over. Second of all you want to help the body fight off infection, and not get infected by using an antibiotic ointment. Triple antibiotic ointment, Neosporin, Polysporin are among the most common, and these are available over the counter. You want to watch as the cut heals for signs of increasing redness, puss, swelling those are all signs of infection. If this is starting to hurt more everyday or look worse everyday or puss is coming up it is time to see a doctor, because those infections can proceed very quickly, and they can become very dangerous if they are not treated appropriately. Next you probably want to bandage the area just to keep it clean, and protect it from the outside world. And to keep the skin edges close to each other so that you get nice healing. Now the most obvious way to do that is with a simple over the counter bandaid. There are a variety of brands some are water resistant, some are not, some have a little gel in them, some incorporate the antibiotic ointment right in the bandaid. There is a whole lot of choices these days, but you want to keep it clean, dry, and covered from the outside world. You probably want to pull that bandaid off every day or two to make sure the cut is healing well, make sure that there is no infection forming. Now if you are getting something that doesn't look right have a doctor get a look at it, please. Again infection can be dangerous, there may be some foreign body trapped in there that you were not aware of when you first evaluated the cut, and it may require professional care. Talking about helping a cut heal, I am Dr. David Hill.

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