DIY First Aid

Picture the scene: it’s a typical British Bank Holiday- raining! You have a list of jobs around the house to do, and that means getting the tools out of the shed!

You’ve put the shelves up in the kids’ bedroom using that 18v power drill you got in the January sales at the DIY store out of town, and you survive. Feeling invincible, you tackle the flooring in the porch to cover the concrete that looks untidy (so you’re told!). More rummaging in the tool box, you get the trusty utility knife out and check it’s blade, it looks a bit rusty so you change it over.

As you make the first cut through the flooring, the dog barks at something it thinks it seen, you jump, and slice into your hand. You let out a few choice words and drop the trusty knife, with the now slightly messy new blade. You grab hold of the wound and head to the kitchen.

You appear in the doorway, pale (no one likes the sight of their own blood- it’s important!) and looking shocked. Your better half (who’s done a first aid course!) tells you to sit down, and put some pressure on it, they’ve checked there is no foreign object visible (you’re not able to get your words out!). They get the first aid kit from under the sink and put a towel down, so you don’t bleed over the carpet (that stuff is a pain to get out!!). They find a suitable sized dressing and don the gloves, your hand is moved and the wound is inspected. It looks quite deep, so it is dressed with a sterile, low adherent dressing. Some pressure is still applied, it’s best to apply pressure for 10 minutes to a wound.  Check for capillary refill by squeezing a finger nail on the injured hand for 5 seconds, it should go back to its normal colour within 2 seconds, if not, there’s a risk that the dressing is too tight.

Remember, that if the blood seeps through the first dressing, a second one can be applied over the top. If blood comes through that, take both off and start again. The knot can be applied over the wound, so there is extra pressure to help with the bleeding. If the DIY accident had meant that a foreign object was in the hand, leave anything other than a superficial splinter in place, it can be acting as a plug. In this case, the offending article should be left in, and the injured individual should attend hospital for proper assessment and treatment.

This wound would most likely need proper assessment in a minor injury unit or emergency department and be closed appropriately. If the bleeding is severe, or the patient fainted, the legs should be raised with the patient lying flat on the floor. In the case of shock, cover with a blanket as well.

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