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Your Healthy Family: How to best clean and treat scrapes and cut - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: How to best clean and treat scrapes and cuts

Dr. Tullberg says the number one thing he see people do wrong is when they go old school to clean it. Dr. Tullberg says the number one thing he see people do wrong is when they go old school to clean it.
COLORADO SPRINGS -

When it comes to scrapes and cuts and how to best clean them up and how to know if you need stitches or not, Dr. Ian Tullberg Urgent Care Medical Director with UCHealth Memorial has some advice.

Starting with properly cleaning a scrape or cut, Dr. Tullberg says the number one thing he see people do wrong is when they go old school to clean it.

“Soap and water, use soap and water. The hydrogen peroxide, throw it away. It's cool to dump it down the sink so you can see if it fizz because you think it's doing something but hydrogen peroxide actually hurts healing tissue. I see people who come in all the time say ‘well I cleaned it up really good with alcohol’, I don't know why they want to hurt themselves like that, but they do. Soap and water is going to be a lot more gentle it's actually going to be better on the skin so it can heal.”

When it comes to knowing if a cut needs stitches or not, Dr. Tullberg says there are no hard and fast guidelines.

“I have seen a laceration one centimeter long that needed stitches, and I have seen others that were longer than that but didn't need stitches. It just depends on the depth of the laceration. Something that might not seem significant, might be, it just depends. It may be a deep puncture wound that's going to need to be irrigated and closed up.”


If you have patched yourself up, and the wound isn't staying closed Dr. Tullberg says that is a good sign that you want to get it looked at by a doctor.

“If the skin is staying nicely together you probably don't need to do a whole lot. You could maybe do a butterfly or something like that at home. If your wound is gaping open a little bit, if it’s staying open then that's really going to lead to an increased risk of infection, so you probably want to get that taken care of and sown up.”


And if you do get stitches Dr. Tullberg has make sure to follow the aftercare instructions closely.

“Follow your doctor's instructions whatever they tell you do after you get the sutures. Not every suture is the same, and so all the aftercare is not going be the same. The biggest thing is don't soak it in water. You can let soap and water run over it. Don't go swimming and don't take a bath or soak it in a hot tub. Follow doctor's instructions closely because every laceration is different.”

Dr. Tullberg says many times knowing if a cut needs stitches or not is a judgment call, even for doctors but if first aid at home doesn't produce healing in a couple of days make sure to get it looked at, sooner rather than later.

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