by April Reinhardt
(last updated September 5, 2008)
While at my desk last week, assembling booklets for a board meeting, my work involved jogging piles of papers into uniform stacks. Invariably while jogging papers, I develop paper cuts on the inside of my forefingers and on the web of skin between my forefingers and thumb. While not a serious laceration, paper cuts sting intensely and can bleed a little or a lot, depending on how deep the cut.
A paper cut is just one example of a simple cut. Scissors, box cutters, broken glass, three-pronged metal fasteners, safety pins, cat claws, kitchen knives, tools—basically, any sharp instrument or object can cause a minor cut. There are a few simple rules when caring for simple cuts:
Some cuts are not minor, although they appear simple at first. While washing dishes with Dad after a large Thanksgiving meal, I sliced the outside of my right pinky finger with a small, sharp knife. I didn't feel the cut at first, but saw the blood washing down the drain with the rinse water. I immediately grabbed the clean dish towel and clamped it over my finger, holding it tightly for several minutes. Although the cut was less than one-half inch long, it was deep, bled profusely, and a half-hour later required twelve stitches in the emergency room.
Where simple cuts are concerned, there are times when you should not hesitate to seek medical attention. If you've been clawed or bitten by an animal, acquire a cut from a rusty instrument, or can't remove debris from a cut, see a doctor immediately to ascertain if a tetanus shot is required.
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