How cuts become new skin

Wound care: cut

Brief overview

  • What to do with a cut Clean the wound, disinfect it, close it (with plaster / bandage), possibly further measures by the doctor (e.g. sewing or gluing the wound, tetanus vaccination).
  • Cut risks: Severe skin, muscle, tendon, nerve and vascular injuries, wound infection, high blood loss, scarring.
  • When to the doctor For deep wounds with gaping wound edges, for heavily contaminated wounds and for wounds where the bleeding can hardly be stopped.


  • You should press a sterile, soft material (e.g. sterile compress) on deeply bleeding wounds and apply a pressure bandage if necessary. Then quickly to the doctor!
  • If the cut is bleeding profusely, a larger blood vessel may be injured. In such cases, you need to tie off the injured part of the body. Then call the emergency doctor!

Cut: what to do?

Cuts when shaving, doing kitchen work or doing DIY are not uncommon. Some bleed little and hardly any pain, while others are associated with greater blood loss and severe pain. Keyword pain - due to wound shock, wound pain often takes a long time to set in.

If the cut is just a minor flesh wound, you can usually treat it on your own without any problems. Make sure, however, to carefully clean and disinfect the wound. Otherwise there is a risk of the wound becoming infected. You should always have a doctor treat more serious cuts.

Cut: duration of healing

How quickly a cut heals depends, on the one hand, on the severity of the injury. On the other hand, the care of the wound also influences the healing time: Inadequately or poorly cared for cuts can take longer to heal, especially if they result in complications.

Tour of the paramedic station at the Oktoberfest

  • First aid with the balloon

    A permanent building has stood on Munich's Theresienwiese since 2006. During the Oktoberfest, the paramedic station of the Bavarian Red Cross (BRK) is housed here. 140 volunteer doctors, paramedics and helpers work there on a Saturday evening. Everything is tightly organized, like in the emergency room of a clinic. A balloon with a red cross that hovers over the building shows the way.
  • Operations management

    Anyone who dials 112 at the Oktoberfest will be connected to the operations management of the BRK station from the control center in Munich. The team there then passes on to the helpers what kind of emergency it is and where exactly the patient is on the festival site.
  • reception

    If you only need a plaster or a headache pill, you will find help at reception. This service is mainly used by people who work at the Oktoberfest - that's over 10,000 people.
  • Carry instead of an ambulance

    At Oktoberfest, first aiders do not drive to the patient by ambulance, but come with specially equipped stretchers. The stretcher crew is at least four: one of them runs away with a radio and looks for the right place, a doctor or paramedic is in charge of medical management and two other helpers push the stretcher. The yellow cover shields the patient to protect him from gawkers.
  • Sighting area

    In the inspection area of ​​the medical station, an experienced emergency doctor assesses how badly the patient is injured on the stretcher and assigns one of the categories green, yellow or red. Thanks to an electronic registration system, the doctor knows which treatment places are still available and assigns them to the patient. A total of 20 people can be cared for lying down in the BRK station during normal operation.
  • The surveillance room

    Patients who were struck down by the beer are brought here. The carriers are very low in case someone rolls out. When it rains, alcoholics often arrive in the surveillance room dripping wet - there is dry laundry for them. Heat blowers ensure that the patients do not get too cold. Each individual is assigned a helper who immediately notices if someone is worse off. Most of them leave the station on their own two feet.
  • treatment

    The treatment in the paramedic station is comparable to the emergency room in a hospital. In one of the six treatment cubicles, the patient is interviewed (anamnesis), possibly stabilized and prepared for transport to the hospital. A surgeon treats smaller wounds in the operating theater. For example, a cut wound can be sewn.
  • Shock room

    Patients with real vital dysfunctions, such as a heart attack or an open hernia, are stabilized in the emergency room. Then an ambulance with an ambulance takes them to the clinic. Fortunately, such emergencies rarely occur at Oktoberfest - the shock room in the BRK station is the least occupied.

First aid measures for cuts

For cuts, you should provide first aid as described here:

  • Bleeding small wounds: Let small cuts bleed out a little before treating. In this way, dirt particles are washed out of the fabric.
  • Rinse wounds: Heavily soiled cuts should be carefully rinsed out with cool tap water.
  • Stop bleeding: Lightly press a sterile bandage over the wound for five to ten minutes until the bleeding subsides.
  • Disinfect the wound: Use a skin disinfectant to disinfect the cut.
  • Cover wound: A plaster is usually sufficient for a small cut.
  • Larger, more bleeding wounds you should provide a sterile pad and a gauze compress. A pressure bandage may also be useful.
  • Elevate: Elevate the injured part of the body so that less blood flows into it.
  • Off to the doctor: More heavily bleeding, larger wounds, wounds with frayed or gaping wound edges and those that are heavily soiled must be treated by a doctor!

What to Avoid

Wounds should be kept as sterile as possible. Therefore:

  • Avoid using “home remedies” such as applying flour, butter or onion juice.
  • Do not touch the wound with your mouth, do not suck on it, do not blow on it ("ouch blow away") - saliva contains a lot of germs.
  • Do not rub or crush the wound.

Cut on the finger

It was easy to cut your finger. A cut on the upper finger joint is best treated with one Butterfly bandage. It goes like this:

  • Clean and disinfect the cut.
  • Cut a piece of plaster about 10 cm long.
  • In the middle of the strip cut a small triangle on the right and left.
  • First place the patch on one side of the finger so that the triangular notches are at the top of the fingertip.
  • Then flip the other half over and press firmly.

The cut on your finger won't stop bleeding? Then try a pressure bandage. If that doesn't help either, the wound must be stitched or glued to the doctor.

If the cut on the finger is throbbing, this is usually an indication of an infection.

Cut off fingertip

It happens quickly when cutting or slicing vegetables: There is a deep cut in the fingertip, it may even be largely or completely severed. Usually then there is a lot of blood flowing. This is to be done in such cases:

  • The loose piece of fingertip should be pressed firmly with a sterile compress.
  • Fix the compress with plaster or a gauze bandage.
  • Go to the nearest hospital emergency department.

Cut: Risks

Most cuts heal without any problems. However, complications can also arise.

Cut: infection

Since the protective skin barrier is broken in the event of a cut, germs can easily get into the wound. If the cut becomes infected as a result, the doctor treats the infection with ointments or tablets containing antibiotics.

If the cut is already beginning to close from the outside, while a scarcely ventilated, infected cavity arises deep down, germs can easily multiply in it. The doctor then places a drainage: he places a thin plastic tube in the wound, through which wound fluid (pus, blood, etc.) can drain or is suctioned off. The drain is usually removed after a few days.

If left untreated, wound infections can spread to tissue or other organs. In the worst case, life-threatening blood poisoning (sepsis) develops.

In the case of a cut, pay close attention to warning signs of infection such as severe swelling, pain or leakage of wound exudate and pus. With such symptoms, you should definitely consult a doctor!

Further injuries

Since a sharp blade can penetrate deeply into the skin, blood vessels, muscles, tendons and nerves are often injured in cuts. As a result, the affected part of the body may be less mobile and / or show sensitivity disorders, for example it may be that touch or temperature stimuli at the affected area are no longer perceived as well. This is more often observed, for example, with deep cuts on the hand or fingers.

Cut: when to see a doctor?

You can treat a superficial cut that hardly bleeds and the wound edges are close together with the help of disinfectants and bandages. Bandages that close the wound without tension are helpful.

A deep cut that is bleeding profusely or has gaping wound edges, on the other hand, is a reason to see a doctor.

Depending on the size, shape and location of the injury, the doctor will sew or staple the cut. Alternatively, he can glue the cut wound with a special wound adhesive.

A visit to the doctor is also advisable in the case of a deep cut because the patient may need a vaccination against tetanus. It should be given as soon as possible after an injury.

Cut: check with a doctor

First, the doctor will take the medical history (anamnesis) in conversation with the patient (or, in the case of injured children, the parents). Possible questions are:

  • When and with what did you (or your child) cut yourself?
  • Has the appearance of the cut changed? If so, how (swelling, redness, pus formation, etc.)?
  • Has a fever occurred?
  • Are there symptoms such as numbness or problems moving the affected part of the body?
  • Do you have any pre-existing conditions (e.g. diabetes, which can worsen wound healing?)
  • Are you (or your child) taking any medication (e.g. cortisone or other preparations that suppress the immune system)?

Physical examination

The anamnesis is followed by a physical examination: the doctor will examine the cut carefully and check the mobility of the affected limb. Muscle strength, reflexes and the skin's sense of touch (sensitivity) are also tested. In this way, any damage to muscles, tendons or nerves can be detected.

Blood test

The doctor can do a blood test to determine whether the patient has lost a large amount of blood as a result of the injury. An infection is also shown in the blood count: When there is an inflammation in the body, certain blood values ​​are increased, for example the number of white blood cells (leukocytes).

Cut: Treatment by the doctor

Medical treatment of a cut depends on which part of the body the wound has (e.g. fingers, face, leg) and how serious the injury is. General wound care measures are:

  • Cleaning the cut
  • Irrigation of the wound with saline solution
  • Wound closure with plaster, tissue glue, staples or sutures
  • Treatment of bacterial wound infection with antibiotics
  • Tetanus vaccination for deep, soiled wounds
  • if necessary, immobilization of the injured body part (especially in the case of wound infection)
  • If necessary, inpatient treatment (for severe or severely infected cuts)
  • If necessary, surgery, e.g. in the case of vascular, ligament and nerve injuries or pronounced wound infections

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