If you cut your hand quite badly, it's important to act quickly and take the appropriate measures to minimise the amount of damage this injury causes. Read on to find out what these measures are.
Rinse the wound
The first thing you should do after cutting your hand is rinse the wound under clean running water to remove any debris and to wash off most of the bacteria that may be present around the broken skin.
After this, you should use an antiseptic rinse to cleanse the wound; this will kill off any remaining bacteria.
It is absolutely essential to thoroughly wash the cut; failing to do so could result in it becoming seriously infected. It is also possible that the bacteria around the open wound could enter your bloodstream and cause sepsis (a life-threatening infection).
If you do not have access to an antiseptic product, you can dab the cut with a solution of heavily-salted water; this will draw bacteria out of the wound.
Take steps to stop the bleeding
If the cut is quite deep, there will probably be a lot of blood emerging from it. It's important to do what you can to minimise the amount of blood that you lose.
The first way to do this is by applying pressure to the wound. You can do this by firmly pushing a clean cloth against the wound and holding it there for several minutes or by wrapping the wound tightly in a clean bandage.
If you opt for the latter do not wrap it extremely tightly; you should aim to slow the flow of blood without cutting off the circulation entirely. If the skin above the bandaged area starts to turn purple, the bandage is too tight and should be loosened slightly.
The second way to stem the flow of blood from the wound is to elevate the affected limb so that it is above your heart. You should keep it in this position for at least a few minutes.
Monitor the wound
After cleaning and bandaging the wound, it's important to monitor it and to seek medical advice if necessary.
For example, if despite your best efforts, the wound is still bleeding an hour after the incident occurred, you should go to your nearest walk in medical clinic to have the injury evaluated and treated by a doctor as soon as possible.
Similarly, if even after cleaning the wound, it seems to be showing signs of infection (for example, if the area around the cut is extremely swollen and warm to the touch and the wound itself is producing pus), you should not wait until you can get an appointment with your GP to have it treated. Instead, you should visit a walk in clinic immediately, in order to prevent the infection from worsening.