A laceration can be described as a deep cut or tear in the skin. The size or depth of the laceration can vary and usually results following an object hitting the skin or the skin hitting an object. Lacerations can bleed heavily and you may need to apply a dressing and a bandage (this technique is known as a pressure pad) to help slow the bleeding down.
- Do not remove any foreign objects – if foreign objects are present in the injury refer to a health care professional for appropriate treatment
- Wash and dry your hands prior to commencing any treatment
- Apply a sterile dressing to the injury; CAUTION! if the wound contains a foreign object, take care not to push it further into the wound
- Secure dressing with a bandage (this technique is known as pressure pad), checking that it is not so tight as to risk cutting off circulation
- For lacerations involving the hand or arm, raise the affected limb above the person’s head, as together with the pressure pad, this will help reduce blood flow
- For lacerations involving the lower limb, lay the person down (if possible) and raise the affected limb above the level of their heart (which, together with the pressure pad, will help to reduce blood flow)
- Once bleeding has stopped consider use of wound closure strips
- Cover with an absorbent dressing. Secure in place with tape
Caution: If the bleeding does not stop, involves an artery, contains a foreign body, is large in size or involves the face, seek advice from a healthcare professional.