The sun is shining longer, the temperatures are (slowly) climbing, and kids across the Twin Cities are itching to get back to playing outdoors. After a long winter, you might be getting ready to brush the dust off the first aid kit in preparation for knee and elbow scrapes from falls off bikes or trips over sidewalk cracks. Given the upcoming spring and summer seasons, we’d like to provide a few tips on how to treat the minor cuts and scrapes your little ones might get from playing outside with natural remedies.
First, let’s go over some of the more traditional methods parents have used as treatment for scrapes. The first step of scrape treatment should be to stop any bleeding by gently applying pressure, and then cleaning away dirt and debris with water and non-scented soap. This will help prevent infection from developing.
Once the scraped area is clean, think twice if you’re about to dig through the cabinet for hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol. These solutions may not be as effective as we once thought and can actually slow the healing process.
For those of you wondering how to heal a scrape fast — and naturally — we’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to put to work this spring and summer!
If you’ve got essential oils on hand, you’re in luck! Two amazing oils you can use to speed up recovery are lavender and tea tree oil. Lavender is antibacterial and can help promote fast healing while tea tree oil is well-known for its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties.
When applying onto your child’s scrape, it’s a good idea to use a carrier such as coconut oil, aloe vera, or a very mild lotion. Mix 2-3 drops of the oil into a bit of your carrier of choice, and apply directly onto the scrape. Then, wrap up the scrape with a bandage. Make sure to re-apply this treatment a few times a day to keep the scrape moist.
Garlic is a miracle worker — whether it’s used for cooking or scrape-healing. Be warned that garlic is a more aggressive treatment and might actually burn a little when applied directly. However, it has powerful antibiotic properties and is a staple of herbal medicine.
To apply garlic, mash 10-20 cloves depending on the size of the scrape and mix with water until it has the consistency of a paste. Cover the area with a bandage, and the garlic will work to destroy bacteria and reduce pain. You won’t need to re-apply as frequently, but do change the bandage and apply fresh garlic once a day until the scrape shows signs of healing.
Much more than just a delicious treat, honey is another extremely powerful healing tool you can use on scrapes. Honey has been used since ancient times for medicinal purposes, including the treatment of wounds. Much like garlic, it is a potent antibacterial that can kill off bacteria and prevent infection. It also helps stimulate cell production and keeps the surrounding tissues healthy during repair.
It’s important to note that only raw honey, especially a variety called Manuka honey, will work for this, as it possesses the healing enzymes that cooked honey lacks. To apply, you can either spread a little bit of honey over the scrape or mix with aloe vera. Re-apply 2-3 times a day, and be sure to keep the scrape moist to promote fast healing.
Scrape treatment shouldn’t be limited to just topical treatments. You can also help heal your child’s wounds by promoting a healthy diet that will surely speed up recovery. A few staples to incorporate are leafy greens, lean protein, and vitamin C.
Vegetables packed with vitamin K can speed up blood clotting, and protein is necessary for building new tissue. Spinach, lean meats (or nuts and soy products for vegetarians/vegans) and citrus fruits are all specific foods you can be on the lookout for.
Of course, hearty and nutritious meals should be encouraged every day. For advice on properly balancing your child’s meals, check out this blog!
Please keep in mind that if a cut or scrape is deep (over ¼ inch deep) or is still bleeding badly after 20 minutes, you should contact us, or another healthcare professional. It’s also important to keep an eye out for signs of wound infection. Some of these signs include excess swelling or tenderness, yellow-green pus, and fever. If your child exhibits these signs, please call your doctor.