Health Watch - The Great Outdoors: Bumps and Scrapes

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about enjoying the great outdoors now that the weather is nice and warm. Springtime is great for outdoor activities like hiking, biking and sports, but along with that activity may come minor injuries like skinned elbows and cut knees. How you tend to those injuries may determine how quickly the injuries heal and how badly they scar.

Dr. James Thornton, a plastic surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says first aid should start with applying pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or tissue to control bleeding. Then use cool water to clear any dirt or debris from the wound. Don’t use soap directly on the wound because that can cause irritation. Apply an antibiotic cream and bandage the wound if it’s in a location where it might get dirty or rub against clothing. If the wound scabs, leave the scab alone. A scab is nature’s bandage — a way to protect the wound. Consult a doctor if the wound becomes red or warm or if it oozes pus.

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May 2009

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