First Aid for A Rusty Metal Injury
An injury of any kind can be nasty, particularly if it’s from somehow getting cut on a sharp, jagged metal edge. The only thing that can make an injury like this worse is if the metal is rusty. This can not only make the injury itself more painful, it can also have long-term health dangers.
Quick and efficient treatment of a rusty metal injury is essential to prevent long-term damage. Here are some first-aid steps to perform if you or someone around you gets a wound from rusty metal.
1. Stay Calm
Most cuts, even on rusty metal, are not immediately life threatening. Unless the cut itself is extremely deep or long, there’s not any need to worry as long as you get to a hospital in a day or so. Panicking will make things worse for yourself and those around you. There’s no emergency here; just do what needs to be done.
2. Clean the Wound
The first few steps are actually very similar to how you would normally act in a normal first aid situation. The first step is to get the wound as clean as possible. If you can, wear plastic or rubber gloves–there should be some in a first aid kit, if you have one. First, wash off any dirt and blood from around the wound with clean water. Then, try to clean the wound itself. In particular, try to remove any bits of rust or metal that may have broken off into it. If any pieces are lodged in, do not attempt to jerk them free; those can be taken care of at a hospital.
3. Stop the Bleeding
If the cut is deep enough to bleed on it’s own, you’ll want to put a stop to that as quickly as possible. Once the wound is clean, put gauze pads over the wound and hold them there with moderate pressure until the bleeding stops. If bleeding doesn’t stop within twenty minutes, wrap the wound up as best as you can and take the person to the hospital immediately.
4. Disinfect the Wound
Bacterial Infection can be a big threat early on, so be sure to disinfect the wound. Use iodine, alcohol, antibiotic ointment, or whatever your first aid kit includes for this kind of thing. Be gentle and liberal with this.
5. Bandage the Wound
Let the wound dry as much as possible. Bandaging it when wet retains moisture and increases the rate of infection and tetanus. If the cut is small enough, a band-aid will do for a short-term cover until you get to the hospital. Otherwise, use gauze and and adhesive like medical tape to fashion your own bandage.
6. Prevent Tetanus
Rusty metal is a prime habitat for the bacteria that cause tetanus, a deadly condition. If someone is cut by rusty metal, they should always consult with a doctor as to whether they need a tetanus shot. Typically you only need one shot to protect for you seven to ten years. To be safe, though, you should visit a doctor regardless. In cases like this, it’s best to err on the side of caution.