Both cuts and scratches are damages on the surface of the skin. A cut is basically a line that can go through the skin and into the muscle tissues beneath. A scratch is best described as surface damage that does not penetrate into the lower tissues. Both can make the skin turn red in color or bleed. In some cases, the cuts and scratches can become infected and eventually leave scars.
Causes of cuts and scratches
Always remember that a cut is typically due to an encounter with a sharp object such as a razor blade or a knife. Cuts can also be caused by objects that have thin edges such as a piece of paper or even a thin cardboard box.
A scratch is usually caused by objects that have an abrasive surface such as concrete, sandpaper or fragmentary wood. Wounds sustained from animals are often categorized as scratches such as a scratch by a cat.[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L77rERL64zc”]
Risk factors for cuts and scratches
Understandably, cuts and scratches can happen to any individual. Those who are engaged in a combative scenario are more prone to cuts especially if sharp objects are used. Majority of scratches are typically unintentional in nature. Children are even more susceptible to cuts and scratches than the adults since they are active and could not control their growing bodies properly.
Symptoms of cuts and scratches
- Pain or irritation on the skin surface
- Redness or swelling around the wound
How cuts and scratches are diagnosed
Cuts and scratches are readily visible on the surface of the skin. In some cases, cuts are very small such as paper cuts, thus they would require a magnifying glass to be seen.
How to treat cuts and scratches
There are different ways to deal with cuts and scratches, depending on their severity. As long as the skin is thoroughly cleaned, majority of cuts and scratches can heal on their own. If you want to hasten the healing process, there are other methods that you can use.
- Medications – Both over-the-counter and prescription medications are readily available for wounds. Most prefer to use an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. As for the pain relievers, they can help minimize the irritation and control the inflammation around the wound.
- Surgery – it the cut results to a large open wound, it would require stitches so that it will heal. In case the cut becomes infected and could no longer be repaired, the area must be removed.
- Home care – pressure should be applied on the cut or scratch to stop the bleeding. In order to keep the wound clean, cover the wound using a bandage and apply an ointment with antibiotic properties. The bandage will also soak up any remaining blood while the wound heals.
As part of any first aid course, you can easily treat cuts and scratches at home. On the other hand, for severe cuts, it is best to have it checked at an emergency department in any hospital.