How to Treat a Cut Finger

Stop Bleeding if Necessary

Bleeding finger
Stop heavy bleeding (this isn't heavy). Image (c) Melanie Martinez

Minor cuts that are oozing a little blood usually don't require any bleeding control. If the bleeding is heavy, bright red or spurting then follow the steps to control bleeding. If the finger is amputated, put pressure on it to control bleeding and follow the steps for treating an amputation.

If you are not the patient and you are concerned about contagious diseases, use personal protective equipment and follow universal precautions.

Clean the Cut Finger

Wash cut finger
Image (c) Melanie Martinez

Rinse the cut under running water, then wash with soap. Antibacterial soap is not necessary, but try not to use soap products with lots of perfumes -- they might sting.

Using Antibiotic Ointment - Optional

Put ointment on a tongue depressor
Image (c) Melanie Martinez

Antibiotic ointment, such as Neosporin, is not necessary for the vast majority of minor cuts. However, if you'll be out in the dirt and grime it may not be a bad idea.

Never squeeze ointment directly on the cut. You don't want to contaminate the container. Instead, put the ointment on a Q-tip or other clean, disposable surface (pictured is a tongue depressor).

Apply an Adhesive Bandage

Apply adhesive bandage
Image (c) Melanie Martinez

Adhesive bandages protect the cut from contamination. They aren't necessary unless the cut has the potential for getting dirty.

When applying an adhesive bandage, never touch the pad. Peel off one side of the protective covering and attach it to the finger, then wrap the bandage around, removing the other protective covering as you go.

Watch for Infection

After dressing a minor cut, watch for infection. Signs of infection include increased temperature, redness, swelling and oozing.

Keep the wound clean and replace the bandage at least once a day and if it gets dirty.

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