Cara Murez Health Day Reporter
SATURDAY, Dec. 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) — From burns to cuts, kitchen accidents happen, and they’re even more likely when you’re cooking for a holiday gathering.
According to a skin expert with the American Academy of Dermatology, treating these injuries quickly and effectively can help start the healing process and possibly reduce scarring.
“Whenever your skin is injured — whether it’s an accident or surgery — your body repairs the wound. As your skin heals, scars may form because it’s a natural part of the healing process,” says Dr. Lindsay Strowd, Associate Professor and Interim Chair of Dermatology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
“The appearance of scars often depends on how well the wound heals,” she said in an academy news release. “If you have a minor cut or scrape, you can help reduce the appearance of scarring by properly treating the wound at home.”
First-degree burns can occur after accidental contact with a hot stove or oven, or from accidents with holiday decorations. This involves only the top layer of skin, unlike more serious second- or third-degree burns.
You may experience mild swelling, and your skin may become red and sore.
“If you have a minor first-degree burn, immediate treatment is important,” Stroud said. “First degree burns are not only extremely painful, but can leave scars if not treated properly.”
Cool the burn by first immersing the burn in cool running water or using a cold compress until the pain subsides.
Do not apply ointments, toothpaste, butter, or topical antibiotics to burns. Strowd recommends applying petroleum jelly 2 to 3 times a day.
Cover the burn with a nonstick sterile bandage. Do not pop any blisters that may form. Let them heal while keeping the area covered.
Keep the wound moist and covered with a nonstick bandage or gauze with paper strips to protect the wound from sunlight while it heals. Once the wound has healed, you can prevent further scarring by applying a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
If the burn is large or severe, or if it occurs in an infant or elderly person, go to the emergency room right away.
Cuts are another common kitchen accident.
“Cuts from sharp knives or a piece of glass are common, and often occur when people are preparing food, washing dishes, or even crafting,” Strowd said. “All it takes is a knife slipping or a plate cracking. Surprised, but most can be treated safely at home.”
To treat a small wound, stop the bleeding with a clean towel or gauze and apply pressure for a minute or two or until the bleeding stops.
Wash hands and wounds with mild soap and cool or lukewarm water. Stroud suggested.
Applying petroleum jelly to the wound will help keep it moist for faster healing. Do not use topical antibiotics.
Cover the wound with a sterile bandage to prevent it from reopening. Change the bandage daily until it heals.
If the cut was caused by a dirty or rusty object, make sure you are up to date with your tetanus vaccine. If you are unsure, please contact your primary care physician.
Seek immediate medical attention if the wound is longer than three-quarters of an inch, deeper than a quarter of an inch, or bleeding doesn’t stop, Strowd said.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more information on burns.
Source: American Academy of Dermatology, press release, December 6, 2022
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