Cut finger advice
March 8, 2005 5:13 PM   Subscribe

Icky cut finger advice sought.

I have a breadknife with vicious teeth and a short attention span, and this afternoon I cut my finger quite badly while slicing a bagel. The cut is kind of C-shaped leaving a flap of flesh. How soon can I change the bandage without ripping the flap open again?
posted by cillit bang to Health & Fitness (16 answers total)
I did a similar thing about 10 days ago and I think I must have hit a tiny artery.
I washed it well, dried water and blood as best as I could then put a few really tight bandaids on. I had to take the outer one off 2 hours later because of lack of feeling but replaced it with another firm one (not ultra tight, but close). And it still bled a little bit 24 hrs later when I repeated the wash/dressing.
2nd time I put on iodine.
2nd day it would have bled again if I had played with it at all.
3rd day it was on the mend.

I reckon leave the bandage 24 hrs if it was cleaned well at the time you cut yourself (but make sure you have a little more feeling than I did!)
posted by peacay at 5:32 PM on March 8, 2005

You might want to see a real doctor and get it stitched. Otherwise you can look forward to a scar for the rest of your life. At least use antibiotic.
posted by intermod at 5:39 PM on March 8, 2005

My husband cut himself in just this way (breadknife and all)a while back, and when he did get to the doctor a couple days later he was told that they'd have wanted to give him stitches if he'd come in sooner. So I second intermod on seeing the doc asap.
posted by Pattie at 6:11 PM on March 8, 2005

I did something similar and cut my left thumb. It took me about an hour to actually look at it underneath the bandage, and it wasn't as bad as I had thought. I used first-aid tape over the bandaid for a week to keep some pressure on the wound.
This was seven months ago and I still have about a dime-sized spot without fingerprints.
posted by Coffeemate at 6:19 PM on March 8, 2005

Best answer: I did the exact same thing, put the bandage on too tightly and 'mis-aligned' the two bits of skin, leaving a big scar and a very strange-looking cuticle. So be careful of that, too. Damned bread knives!
posted by sohcahtoa at 6:31 PM on March 8, 2005

As mentioned above, if you do think you may want it stitched up (which sounds like a good idea to me) you should go to a doctor as soon as possible. If a wound is past a certain age, it cannot be closed due to the possibility of infection.
posted by mmcg at 6:40 PM on March 8, 2005

I'm not your doctor, or anyone's, but I think JandJ makes a product something like krazy glue, but for medical use, which is for just this kind of situation. It closes the wound the way stitches do, without all the pesky emergency room visits/costs. After some period it disintegrates harmlessly. I've always wanted to use it but I never want to make the $12 investment when I have no need, and then when I do, I'm a bloody mess.

I've seen this product on my grocery store shelf around the Band-Aids and such. Sorry for the nonspecific advice.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:45 PM on March 8, 2005

It is important that you pack it with neosporin( or any triple antibiotic cream) immediately. It does not hurt. This will serve two purposes. It will keep the bandaid from sticking to the wound and it will promote healing. Neosporin is something of a miracle drug. Your wound will heal much more quickly with it. Do not let it air. Keep it bandaged with lots of neosporin. I cooked professionally for years and have dealt with this too many times. This works well.
posted by wsg at 7:19 PM on March 8, 2005

If you try to take the bandage off and it is stuck, soak it for a while in some warm water. As the wound moistens you can gently and slowly work the bandage off. Then, go with the neosporin and you won't have to worry about it sticking again.
posted by wsg at 7:27 PM on March 8, 2005

The stitches :

How long after the cut has happened will stitching not have an affect?

"The primary consideration here is contamination. Contamination will occur if the wound happened in association with swamps, bogs, marshes, clays or subsoil. Bites, both human and animal are also associated with high infection rates. If the wound happened in a situation where there was a high possibility of contamination then medical treatment should be obtained as soon as possible, with anything over 6 hours considered too long. In other situations such as stubbed toes on a clean sandy beach, a delay of 6 to 8 hours will not have an adverse affect. You can even delay up to 18 hours if you are very careful cleaning and bandaging the cut. For facial wound scarring can be minimized with stitches even if treatment is delayed up to 24 hours. If the wound is deep enough to possibly damage nerves, arteries, or tendons then immediate specialized treatment is needed. If you can get to medical attention right away then do it. "
posted by edgeways at 7:49 PM on March 8, 2005

Make sure you're not allergic to sulfer drugs before using the neosporin. My sister almost killed my brother-in-law when she put some on a hand cut he had.
posted by white_devil at 7:54 PM on March 8, 2005

white_devil, does neosporin contain sulfur? That may explain a reaction I had...I hadn't realized that one of the ingredients could be related to sulfur.
posted by fionab at 8:04 PM on March 8, 2005

That would be Sulfa.

Many people are intolerant (not life-threatening, just inconvenient - ie nausea); some people are allergic. Neosporin ointment for skin contains Neomycin, and Polymixin B. Don't use if it you are allergic to one of the other "mycins".

Timeliness is the rule when getting stitched OR glued (glue is used surgically for some wounds, but don't put the glue you use on a broken cup inside a cut).

The casual use of Neosporin, or any of the other antibiotic creams is about as useful as washing with soap and water and using some clean/sterile moisturizer product, and may -- if the wound is contaminated -- promote the growth of resistant bacteria. You shouldn't put it IN the wound, but over the top, to keep the surface moist -- if you insist on using it. Anything clean that keeps the scab from drying out does the job.

If you can align the tissues without trouble, and keep them aligned... AND a scar is acceptable to you, keep it cleanly bandaged and immobilized for a couple of days.

Any signs of infection warrant a trip to the MD.
posted by reflecked at 4:15 AM on March 9, 2005

Yeah fionab, what reflecked said, "Sulfa". Some folks have extremely violent reactions to this stuff, so be careful what you put on your wounds if you have any known drug allergies.
posted by white_devil at 5:13 AM on March 9, 2005

How long? A day, probably. Soak it in warm water or warm peroxide.

Next time, get the stitches, or at least go in to let someone look at it. Because I work with my hands a lot, I'm prone to injuries like this (at current count there are 4 scabs on my hands from various minor things), and I've done exactly the same kind of cut. If it's bleeding and you've got a flap of skin, get it lashed down. Besides, you get to decorate it later.
posted by plinth at 5:38 AM on March 9, 2005

The medical glue is wonderful for this kind of cut. The human stuff is rediculously expensive but you can get the same stuff for animals for a tenth of the cost. Doesn't seem to risky if your not holding together a sucking chest wound or something. I carry it my off road first aid kit.
posted by Mitheral at 2:10 PM on March 9, 2005

« Older What makes for a good tisane?   |   French doors: practical or just for show? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.