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How Long Should A Cut Bleed For

by Lyndon Langley
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How Long Should A Cut Bleed For

How Long Should A Cut Bleed For

You’ve just finished shaving your face when you get an excruciatingly sharp prick on the chin. You feel warm liquid soaking into your T-shirt as you look down at the spot where the razor sliced across your skin. The cut doesn’t appear deep, but the blood stains your shirt like ink in water. How long will this wound bleed? And what can you do about it?
A cut is any break in the skin that allows blood to seep out. It may be shallow (less than 1/8 inch) or deep (greater than 1/4 inch). When the injury involves the dermis — the middle layer of skin closest to the outer layers — it’s called a puncture wound. Puncture wounds are usually caused by something sharp, such as glass shards or metal splinters. But other things can also cause them, including blunt force trauma from falls, accidents or fights.
In general, cuts heal quickly because they don’t usually involve large arteries or veins, which would slow healing. However, some injuries require medical attention immediately. In these cases, the bleeding must be controlled before it obscures vision, causes unconsciousness, interferes with breathing, disrupts bodily functions or makes it difficult to move safely.
After a cut bleeds, it typically stops within a minute or two. That said, there are times when a cut might continue to leak blood even longer. We’ll take a look at how long a cut should bleed next.
Length Of Time To Stop Bleeding After Razor Strop Across Face
If you’ve ever had a close shave, then you know one end of the razor is much sharper than the other. With each stroke, tiny nicks form along the edge of the blade. These nicks keep opening wider until eventually the whole surface becomes slightly curved and jagged. This uneven surface irritates the hair near the nick, causing stubble to grow back thicker and coarser.
When shaving, use short strokes and try not to drag the razor over the same area too many times. Instead, lift the razor up and down smoothly. Also avoid pushing the razor against your skin while cutting; instead, hold the razor away from your body at arm’s length and make small circular movements. Shaving cream helps soften the hairs’ grip, making the job easier. Finally, always rinse the blade under cool running water after every pass. Using hot water strips moisture from the skin and softens the hair, making it harder to slice cleanly.
One way to help prevent nicks is to use a pre-shave oil, lotion or astringent to numb the skin around the area being shaved. Other products containing salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide reduce redness and irritation. Be sure to thoroughly wash off all lotions, balms and cosmetics before going to bed. If you’re prone to ingrown hairs, ask your doctor whether he recommends using a depilatory product.
Nicks aren’t the only thing that can prolong a cut’s bleeding time. Next we’ll discuss why certain factors speed up or slow down this process.
Factors Affecting How Fast A Cut Will Heal
Your first concern after getting a cut is stopping the bleeding. Once the bleeding has been stopped, however, there are other concerns that need addressing.
First, does the cut hurt? Minor cuts may not bother you, especially if you were lucky enough not to hit a major artery or vein. But if the cut is painful or appears infected, you need to seek medical treatment right away. Infections spread easily between people who share personal items, such as towels, razors and clothing. They also develop faster in people whose immune systems are compromised due to age, illness, diabetes or HIV.
Next, consider the size of the object that injured you. A nail that penetrates deeply will inflict more damage than an errant chip of wood. Similarly, a ball bearing is less likely to lodge itself under the skin of someone who fell onto hard ground than one that rolled across softer surfaces.
Finally, think about the location of the cut. Are you experiencing pain on one side of your body? Is the injury affecting a joint that moves freely? If so, you may want to restrict movement for a day or two so you don’t aggravate the problem further.
Now let’s find out how to tell when a cut has completely healed.
Can you determine how old a child is just by looking at his or her hand? Yes, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. By studying fingerprints, scientists have developed algorithms that can accurately estimate a person’s chronological age based upon their prints alone.
Signs Your Cut Has Healed Completely
Once you’ve decided to go ahead with surgery, you’ll probably want to know when you can leave the hospital. First off, the wound needs to heal properly to minimize infection risks. There are several signs that indicate a wound is ready for discharge.
It should look clean and healthy. The dressing should fit snugly without gaps. The edges of the wound shouldn’t be oozing pus. Any drainage coming from the wound should be minimal and clear. Your surgeon should give you a report on the status of your wound. If your doctor thinks the sutured cut looks good, you can return home.
To reduce scarring, you’ll probably want to wear a compression garment. Compression stockings and bandages work well. You can buy special garments made specifically for this purpose. Ask your nurse or physician about wearing compression gear during recovery.
While scars are inevitable, you can lessen their appearance by following some basic rules. First, don’t scratch or pick at the scabs. Second, don’t rub the affected area. Third, apply petroleum jelly daily to the scarred area. Fourth, avoid overexposure to sunlight. Sunlight weakens the collagen fibers in your skin, which leaves you susceptible to wrinkles and blotchy spots.
For additional information on cuts and scrapes, visit the links below.
Cuts and scrapes aren’t the only type of minor injury you can suffer. What happens if you slip on a banana peel or trip over a garden hose? Do those kinds of mishaps result in serious injury? Find out on the next page.
Slip ‘n Slide Accidents
A Slip ‘n Slide is basically a dirt track covered with rubberized material. Children slide down the track on inner tubes and surf down the hill on their bottoms. Some slides have multiple levels; others stand straight up above the ground. Slides range in price from $20 to hundreds of dollars.
Slides are fun, safe ways to play outdoors. Parents need to supervise children playing on slippery surfaces, though. Falls are common among kids sliding down hills. Most injuries occur when children fall backwards and roll across the top of their heads. Kids often land on their necks and shoulders, which puts the neck in a flexed position. Flexed joints are weaker than extended ones, which explains why most cervical spine injuries happen on flat surfaces rather than hills.
Slide-related injuries can be prevented with proper supervision and protection. Before you purchase a new slide, look up safety guidelines for your state. Many states classify sliders as playground equipment, which means they’re responsible for providing their own adult supervision. Check local regulations for details.
If you’re concerned about your kid’s health, talk to the manufacturer about its maintenance program. Look for signs of rust, cracks or leaks. Inspect the slide regularly for worn spots and loose screws. Have your child learn how to operate the brakes and emergency call system. Make sure the operator is certified in CPR.
Check with your city or county parks department for detailed regulations regarding Slide ‘n Slide usage.
On the next page we’ll explore some other types of minor injuries.
Minor injuries aren’t limited to the playground. Workplace hazards abound. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly three million workers suffered workplace injuries in 2003. More than half of those injuries resulted in lost work days. As a result, employers spent almost $60 billion for worker compensation insurance premiums in 2002.
Other Types of Minor Injuries
Roughhousing isn’t the only activity that can lead to minor injuries. Sports such as football, hockey, soccer and baseball carry inherent dangers. Football players risk head injuries when they run full-speed collisions with other players. Hockey players and soccer players collide with pucks and balls. Baseball catchers put themselves at risk when trying to catch wild pitches.
Sports injuries aren’t confined to contact sports. Swimmers, skaters, bicyclists and skateboarders are also vulnerable to minor injuries. While some of these injuries can be severe, they’re mostly broken bones and sprains.
Most of us have experienced a twisted ankle at least once, although most recover completely in a matter of weeks. Sprained ankles are far more serious. Sprains tear ligaments, leaving the foot unstable. Unless you experience extreme swelling or bruising, seek medical attention right away.
Diving enthusiasts beware! Divers sustain minor injuries almost 40 percent of the time. Broken ribs, dislocated hips and torn muscles are typical injuries sustained underwater. Like athletes, divers who participate in high-risk activities should follow safety precautions.

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