Understanding minor wound

It’s something that we all encounter regularly in our lives: you make a wrong move, you scratch a little, and all of a sudden you notice that break in your skin. A wound is a type of injury that involves laceration or the breaking of a membrane, most commonly your skin, and its underlying tissues1. In this article, we’ll be looking at minor wounds: what causes them, what level of pain they bring, and how to treat them when you have one.

Putting on a diaper after applying nappy cream.
What causes wounds?

Different kinds of minor wounds are caused by different things, so let’s explore by type: 
Scrape—This is the type of wound you see often on children’s elbows and knees when they fall. It’s where the top layer of skin has been rubbed off. The pain level can be quite high because the nerve endings are intact and exposed.

Puncture—This is a type of wound where you see a small hole in the skin, and it can be deep or shallow. Because it’s not as open as the other types, it doesn’t bleed out as much and can be easily infected. Mosquito wounds, splinter wounds and other piercings are examples of a puncture wound. 

Cut—This is a type of wound where your skin is sliced open by a sharp plane. It could be small and shallow like a paper cut or large and deep, as is the case with some knife cuts. Not all cuts are smooth—some may be jagged depending on the instrument that has cut you, and the pain levels vary depending on the size and depth. 

Blister—A type of wound wherein fluid collects in a bubble under your skin. This may or may not be open because blisters burst, and they come in different sizes. If the skin isn’t broken, the blister is considered sterile. 

First aid for minor wounds

The good news for minor wounds is that most of them can be safely treated at home. With proper first aid, your wound should recover in a few days without any problems. 

Stop the bleeding. If the wound is bleeding, you’ll need to address that immediately before doing anything else. Get a clean and dry absorbent material that won’t leave residue—a towel or a handkerchief will do if you don’t have a bandage handy—and apply pressure to the affected area for several minutes to give time for your blood to clot. It also helps to reduce the blood flow to that area—this is easy to do if the wound is on your limbs. Lift your arms above your head or lie down and raise your legs above your heart level to reduce the blood flow3

Bepanthen baby cream helps deal with nappy rash.

Causes of nappy rash

The most common cause of nappy rash is a combination of soiled nappies and friction. A baby’s delicate skin becomes sore and fragile when in contact with the natural, yet irritating chemicals in healthy urine, and the irritants and enzymes in faeces.

This is made worse by a tight nappy, which both rubs, removing the skin’s protective lipids, and stops air circulating. If left untreated, this can even lead to fungal infections such as candida albicans (thrush). Some baby wipes and cleaning products can also cause irritation. 

Nappy rash is more likely to occur if your baby is

  • Premature
  • Unwell
  • Recovering from vaccination
  • Suffering from diarrhoea (which may be caused by certain medications, e.g. antibiotics or change in diet)
  • Weaning
  • Prone to hereditary eczema
Using nappy cream before putting on a diaper.

When should you see the doctor?

Remember, nappy rash is incredibly common, but there is a simple way to help to protect against the causes by using a barrier like Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment.

If nappy rash does develop, try not to worry as there are treatments available. If it’s been a few days and in spite of treating the rash is still spreading outside the nappy area, and if the skin is broken and weeping, or your baby is feverish, there may be an infection. Again these symptoms are common and not necessarily a cause for alarm, but you should consult a doctor.