Cuts and Scrapes
If you can stop the bleeding and keep the wound clean to prevent infection, you’ve done your part; nature will take over from there. Required: some bandages and antibiotic ointment (doctors recommend any triple antibiotic variety). Other wound remedies that work in a pinch are within easy reach — from honey to garlic to your own saliva.
You have just sliced yourself with a sharp object — a kitchen knife, your razor, a broken drinking glass, even a piece of paper. Or you’ve had a sudden encounter with a section of concrete and lost a bit of skin on your elbow or knee. There may be visible bleeding — and perhaps an invisible invasion of bacteria into the wound, bringing a risk of infection.
Clean, Cover, and Disinfect
- To stanch bleeding, apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or piece of gauze. In a pinch, use your hand.
- Once bleeding has stopped, gently clean the area around the wound with soap and water. Then apply a bandage.
- You can also cleanse a cut with a tincture of calendula, a bacteria-slaying herb known for its wound-healing powers. Look for calendula succus, which is a low-alcohol formula. If you can’t find it, use the regular tincture and dilute it with a little water. To heal scrapes faster, try a calendula cream, sold in some health food stores.
- Twice a day, you can clean your cut with myrrh, which stimulates the production of white blood cells. These are the infection-fighting cells that gather at the wound site. Mix 1 teaspoon myrrh tincture (available at health food stores) with 4 ounces water. Dribble it over the cut or scrape, and allow the wound to remain exposed to the air until it dries.
- Try tea tree oil. It contains a strong antiseptic compound and is popular the world over for treating wounds. Stir 1½ teaspoons of the oil into a cup of warm water and use this to rinse cuts and scrapes.
Cures From Your Kitchen
- No antibiotic cream handy? In a pinch, dab on a little honey and then cover with a bandage. Honey has antibacterial properties, and studies have shown that it can speed wound healing. In certain cases some doctors believe that honey might even be superior to triple-antibiotic creams as a wound dressing. Don’t have a Band-Aid? Don’t worry — honey dries to form a natural one.
- Garlic is another of nature’s antibiotics. Try taping a crushed clove over the cut. If it irritates your skin, take it off right away.
Scraped Knee? Bag It
It seems like kids manage to scrape their knees every day. Solution: Bag Balm. Originally designed for use on cows’ udders, it protects scraped skin and keeps scabs soft so that they’re less tempting to pick at. Vaseline, or any other kind of petroleum jelly, is also effective.
Take a Lesson From Rover
If you can’t wash a wound — say you’re smack in the middle of the woods — lick it. Researchers at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research demonstrated that a protein in saliva not only helps to heal wounds, it also acts as an anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial agent.
Glue It Together
Read the warning label on Instant Krazy Glue, and you’ll learn that it “bonds skin instantly.” But if you’ve got a very small slice in your finger (like a paper cut), maybe an instant skin-sealer is just what you want. In fact, Krazy Glue contains the same ingredients as a new “liquid Band-Aid,” and just a drop on a cut will seal it closed for quicker healing. Just make sure you don’t touch that drop while it’s drying, or you’ll end up with a very awkward case of Siamese fingers.
Should I Call the Doctor?
Call the doctor if your wound won’t close or stop bleeding, or if you have any signs of infection, (pus, unusual discharge, fever, red streaks that spread outward from the wound). If you have a deep puncture wound your doctor may insist that you get a tetanus booster.