When curs or other wounds happen, taking some simple steps can help speed the body's natural healing process. Experts writing in the Mayo Clinic Women's Healthsource offer the following suggestions...

Cover, press, clean. Cover the wound with a sterile dressing and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Use tap/bottled water or sterile saline to wash the wound. Seek medical help if you think you need stitches, you can't clean the wound or if the injury was caused by an animal or human bite. You should also seek medical attention if it has been 10 years or longer since your last tetanus shot.

Medicate. Apply a topic antibiotic ointment to the wound. Cover with a heavy lubricant such as Vaseline or Aquaphor to create a barrier to keep the wound moist. Don't use betadine, alcohol or hydrogen peroxide because they all interfere with healing.

Keep the area moist. Experts have turned their back on older advice to keep wounds dry and exposed to the open air. Instead, they now recommend covering the wound with a sterile dressing to create a warm, moist environment, which is best for wound healing. This kind of environment decreases pain, infection and the likelihood of re-injury.

Dress the wound. The best kind of dressing is one that keeps the wound moist and the surrounding tissue dry. Use a nonstick dressing and gently change it every day or two. Try to keep the wet scab intact. Wounds should normally stay covered for approximately five days or until the surface layers have healed. Don't use plain gauze to cover the wound. It can stick to the scab and cause reinjury when it's removed.

Don't scratch. Scratching the wound that is healing can reopen it. Remember, itching is a normal (albeit, frustrating) part of the healing process.

Eat right, don't smoke. Healthy lifestyles promote wound healing.

Watch it. If the wound shows signs of infection (redness, increased pain or swelling, yellow or green discharge), seek medical attention.

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