Treating minor injuries at home
Spring has arrived, and with it comes brighter evenings, bluer skies, and an influx of questions about minor injuries and how to treat the cuts, bumps, and bruises in children of all ages - all of which come with time spent outside.
This month Dr Yiannis talks to Dr Charles Stewart, Consultant in Paediatric Emergency and Childhealthy Associate Paediatrician, about some of the most common minor injuries that occur in children, and how best to treat them - including cuts and scrapes, and bumps to the head.
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- What is the best way to care for small cuts and scrapes for children?
- What should I do if my child bumps their head?
- How can I care for or treat my child’s sprained ankle at home?
- New Childhealthy advice articles
- Childhealthy updates
Minor injuries are a common and very normal part of growing up. However, as a parent, it can be concerning when your child has a head injury, even when minor, or a fall with cuts and bruises. To help you feel more reassured and calmer in these situations, this month we are focussing on how to treat these minor injuries at home and when to seek further help.
This month, Dr Yiannis asks Dr Stewart about some of the most common minor injuries that he sees on a regular basis, and how best to treat them.
What is the best way to care for small cuts and scrapes?
The blood from a small cut may look excessive, but in most cases, this is a short-term flow of blood that will ease within five to ten minutes. Apply direct pressure to the wound straight after the injury has occurred, and once the blood flow has eased you can clean the wound and remove any dirt.
Use lukewarm water and an antiseptic cleaning spray or wipe to clean the wound and keep an eye for signs of injection for a few days after. Specifically look out for reddening around the wound, and unexpectedly high amounts of pain. It is important to recognise that any wound which breaks the skin is at risk of infection, and so cleaning and closing the wound is key - with more serious lacerations best dressed by a doctor.
Top tip from Dr Stewart: ‘Apply direct pressure to the wound straight after an injury has occurred to stop the flow of any bleeding.’
What should I do if my child bumps their head?
If your child bumps their head, you should act first to make sure they are not suffering from a concussion. The main symptoms of concussion include headaches, dizziness, and memory loss - and you should take your child to a doctor if they are complaining of any of these symptoms. Minor head injury can still present with troubling symptoms and a check-up would be recommended in the event of ongoing headache, dizziness, nausea, difficulty concentrating or sleep disturbance.
Some other red flags to look out for, and which may indicate a more serious head injury, include:
- Loss of consciousness for more than a few minutes
- Continued vomiting
In most cases, a small bump to the head is nothing to worry about and is a perfectly normal part of outside (and inside) play. A cold pack, a short lie down, and a treat should clear up any tears.
Top tip from Dr Stewart: ‘Most minor head injuries are not a concern, but lookout for signs of a more serious injury like persisting vomiting.’
How can I care for or treat a sprained ankle at home?
Have you heard of the RICE rule? This is the first port of call for any strain or sprain, as it helps to relieve any pain or discomfort that your child is experiencing.
R - Rest the injured body part
I - Ice the injury
C - Compress the area
E - Elevate the injured limb or area of the body
If you are concerned about a strain or sprain, especially if your child is in a lot of pain, visit your GP or a paediatrician as soon as you can to ensure that there is nothing more serious at play - such as a broken or fractured bone.
The signs or indicators of a more serious injury include bone deformity, a snapping or popping sound, if the limb is pale and cold, or if you see signs of significant bleeding. In any of these instances occur, call 999.
Top tip from Dr Stewart: ‘Rest, ice, compression and elevation after a strain or sprain will help with pain and swelling, but always get the injury checked if concerned.’
For more information on these and other minor injuries in children, such as minor burns and objects stuck in the nose or ears, please refer directly to our Minor Injuries guide in the advice section of our website.
New Childhealthy advice articles
If you’re looking for more insight into all things health-related for your children, our latest advice articles on the website includes:
Early signs of autism: In light of World Autism Awareness Day (April 2nd) and autism awareness month, Childhealthy has produced an article that provides support for parents by identifying and discussing the early signs of autism, helping parents understand what they need to look out for and when to get a diagnosis.
ADHD symptoms in children and young people: This article covers ADHD in its entirety. From what the condition is to causes, symptoms, diagnosis and more.
And if you missed last month’s newsletter on mental health, with tips for parents and to help you care for the wellbeing of your children and teenagers, you can find it here.
This month we welcomed Dr Kerry Robinson, Consultant Paediatrician to our growing Childhealthy team of paediatricians and therapists. With Dr Kerry joining us, we are able to increase appointment availability and provide more choices for families looking for appointments. In addition, following on from the positive feedback from last month’s newsletter on mental health, we look forward to welcoming a child psychologist to the team next month. More information on this is in next month’s newsletter.
Our classes for parents now include face-to-face private first aid classes for parents who prefer to get ‘hands-on’ when practicing these vital skills. Online classes are still available in first aid for parents and introducing solid foods to babies.
In April we will be hosting another Weaning Masterclass for parents - which you can read more about and book online here. If you prefer one-to-one advice on Nutrition, weaning babies on to solids or any dietary concern for your baby or child of any age, you can book a nutritional assessment with our paediatric dietitian.
How to reach the Childhealthy team
Follow us on our social channels for regular updates from the Childhealthy team, and as always please do let us know about any topics you want to see covered via email - firstname.lastname@example.org.
An extra thank you this month to Dr Charles Stewart, our associate paediatrician and expert in all things minor injuries.
Have a great rest of your month, enjoy the daffodils and bluebells, and we look forward to catching up with you again in May!
Dr Yiannis and the Childhealthy team