Summer Safety: How to Treat Your Child’s Cuts and Scrapes

More outdoor playtime usually brings more cuts and scrapes for kids. Here are some tips from the experts at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital on the best way to treat your child.

What’s the best way to treat a small cut or scrape?

If the wound is bleeding, keep the area elevated and apply pressure to the site with a clean cloth or gauze. Most minor wounds will stop bleeding in about 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to hold pressure until the bleeding stops.

After the bleeding stops, wash the wound with lots of water. Soaking the wound in water can be helpful if there is dirt or other debris in the wound. You can use mild soap to clean the wound but don’t use rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide —they irritate the tissue in the wound, which causes pain.

After cleaning the wound, apply antibacterial ointment and cover it with a clean dressing.

How do I know if my child needs stitches?

Here are some examples of wounds that probably require stitches:

  • Cuts that go all the way through the skin
  • Cuts with visible fat (yellow) or muscle (dark red)
  • Cuts that are gaping open
  • Cuts longer than half an inch. Note that smaller cuts can often benefit from butterfly closures or skin glue

Your doctor can examine the wound and help decide the best way to close it.

What is the process for getting stitches?

Getting stitches can be scary for children, but there are many ways to make the experience easier. These include numbing the area, distracting and coaching the child, and giving medications to decrease the child’s anxiety or even help them sleep through the procedure.

There are two options for stitches: absorbable and non-absorbable sutures. Absorbable sutures don’t need to be removed. Non-absorbable sutures need to be removed; how long they stay in depends on where the wound is, so your doctor will tell you when to come back to have them taken out.

What other options will a doctor use to close a cut?

  • Skin glue is helpful for minor cuts. It is applied to the cut while the cut is held closed and allowed to dry. Skin glue is not as strong as stitches, so it is not good for cuts that are under tension from a nearby muscle. But when the cut can be appropriately closed with skin glue, the cosmetic result can be just as good as with stitches.
  • Butterfly closures are narrow adhesive strips that are placed across a cut to keep it closed. They are helpful for small cuts or areas over joints. They aren’t as strong as stitches and can fall off early. Stitches provide a strong closure for wounds and almost always stay in place until they are removed.
  • Staples are a fast way to close certain wounds. In children, they are used most often to close cuts on the scalp.

How soon does my child need to see their doctor for stitches?

While it’s ideal to close the wound as soon as possible after an injury, wounds up to 8 hours old can still be closed. Some wounds can be closed up to 24 hours after the injury.

How can I make my child’s scar less visible?

While your child’s skin won’t look exactly the same as it did before the injury, there are some steps you can take to make the scar less visible. Sunlight can make the scar turn dark, so protect the scar from the sun by covering it with a hat, clothing or sunscreen. You can also massage the scar or apply silicone scar sheets.

For more information, visit umm.edu/childrens.

To make an appointment at one of our locations, call 410-328-6749.

Summer Safety: How to Treat Your Child’s Sunburn

Pool time and outdoor play may increase your child’s chance for developing sunburn. Here are some tips from the experts at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital on the best way to treat your child.

What causes sunburn?

Sunburn appears within 6 to 12 hours after the skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Artificial light sources like sun lamps and tanning beds can also cause sunburns. The skin becomes red and painful, and swelling of the skin, tenderness and blisters can develop. Severe sunburn can also cause nausea, chills and malaise (“feeling sick”). The burned area remains red and painful for a few days. Later, peeling may occur as the skin heals.

What are the risks of sunburn?

Exposure to the sun can harm children even when they don’t get sunburn. Over the years, the effects of sun exposure build up and can lead to wrinkles, freckles, tough skin and even skin cancer later in life. Some medications and medical conditions can also make people more sensitive to sunlight. Since people get most of their sun exposure as children, it’s important to teach children sun safety early on so they can be protected from these problems in the future.

Sunlight contains both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays cause sunburn. However, UVA rays also cause damage in the long run, including skin cancer. Since tanning beds use UVA light, they aren’t healthy and should be avoided.

How is sunburn treated?

If your child has sunburn, he or she should stay out of the sun until the burn has healed completely. Once it’s healed, be sure your child is wearing sun protection, including sunscreen, before going out in the sun again.

You can control pain from sunburn by applying cool washcloths to the area. Over-the-counter sunburn sprays that contain numbing medications like benzocaine or lidocaine can help, although they may also cause irritation to the skin. You can give anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen by mouth to help with the pain. As the burn heals, apply a moisturizing lotion. Products that contain aloe vera can be helpful in soothing the skin.

How is sunburn prevented?

The sun doesn’t need to be shining brightly to be dangerous. Children can be exposed to UV rays even on foggy or hazy days, and exposure is greater at higher altitudes or when UV rays are reflected off of water, snow, sand, or other surfaces. UV rays are strongest when the sun is the most intense, so try to keep your child out of the sun between 10 am and 4 pm. Infants and young children can quickly develop serious sunburns.

Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Check the label to make sure the sunscreen blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outside. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. Since no sunscreen is waterproof, you may need to reapply sunscreen more frequently if your child is spending lots of time in the water.

Appropriate clothing is also important for sun protection, such as wide-brimmed hats and lightweight cotton clothes with long sleeves and pants.

Keep babies under six months of age out of the sun and in the shade as much as possible. Avoid sunscreen in babies less than six months old.

For more information, visit umm.edu/childrens.

To make an appointment at one of our locations, call 410-328-6749.

 

Winter Wives’ Tale

The University of Maryland Children’s Hospital sets the record straight…

Put on your hat since you lose most of your body heat through your head.”
This is not necessarily true! Your body heat escapes from any exposed area- so if you had on snow pants and a T-shirt and you forget your hat and jacket, the most amount of heat would escape through your arms- since that would be the largest exposed part of your body. Putting on winter accessories such as hats, mittens and scarves is still a very good idea to avoid the outside dangers of frostbite and hypothermia.

You will get sick if you go outside with wet hair.”
This is another winter wives’ tale. While your kids may be cold, they won’t actually catch a cold by venturing outdoors with a wet head. Germs are spread by people, and temperature simply doesn’t play a part.

 

Seven-Year-Old Leukemia Patient Raises $1,800 to “Find A Cure for Cancer”

By Chris Lindsley
UMMC Blog Editor

Seven-year-old Brasen VonMoose-Lemin had the idea to set up a lemonade stand to help “his” hospital. What he didn’t have were any limitations on what his fundraiser for the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH) could accomplish. “I want to help find a cure for childhood cancer,” he said.

Brasen has battled leukemia since 2008, and has grown close to the doctors and staff at UMCH. After seeing information about a fundraiser for Johns Hopkins, he said “my hospital needs one of these.”

What started off as a lemonade stand selling brownies turned into a full-scale fundraiser with donations from local businesses that raised more than $1,800 for UMCH, which he presented to pediatric oncologist Dr. Teresa York.

“Brasen had the money he raised in a bag, and asked me to guess how much was there,” Dr. York said. “I guessed $250. He then broke into a big smile and said, “I’ve raised more than EIGHTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS.” I could not believe it. What a wonderful gift and insight he has at such a young age.”

Said Brasen about the contents of his paper bag. “I never saw so much money before.”

Brasen’s treatments are going well, and his attitude and outlook have inspired Dr. York and other members of his care team.

“Brasen is an inspiration to all of us with his courage and strength,” said Dr. York. “I am amazed at his dedication to fighting leukemia, his will to live and how his fight has touched so many lives.”

His mother Cherie said she wasn’t surprised when Brasen mentioned his fundraising idea.

“He likes helping others, and he doesn’t want other kids to go through what he has,” Cherie said. “He wants to continue to have an annual fundraiser every year until there is a cure for childhood cancer.”

For his part, Brasen says simply, “I don’t think about my problems when helping others.”

“Terrified” Parents Grateful for Care, Concern & Compassion

By Matt Christopher

My 14-month-old son, Cameron [right, with me and my wife, Nikki], was seen in the University of Maryland Medical Center’s children’s hospital for a MRSA infection from Christmas night until January 4th. Being first-time parents, we were terrified.

Our night started out at Easton Hospital, with one of your crews picking him up and providing outstanding service the whole ride. We then were received into the children’s emergency department and were well taken care of. Then we were transferred to the PICU, where our level of care continued to awe us. Our nurse Davita took wonderful care of our son and us. My wife and I still talk about her concern and compassion for all of us.

The whole team in the children’s hospital was wonderful and words cannot completely describe how amazing the care we received there was. Everyone from the doctors, nurses, and even the cleaning staff was wonderful. The housekeeper, Maria, would see us and ask how he was doing. Davita checked on us even when we had moved wards. It was plain to see that everyone there considers it more than just a job.

As a business manager I am awed at the wonderful employees your institution has working there. Our last nurse’s assistant, Nikki, was able to relate to us and would ask us if we needed anything any time she saw us in the halls. Dr. Mary Boyd checked up on us constantly and became a quick friend. It’s easy to see why you are an award-winning hospital. You have exceeded expectations from myself and all of my family. I am still so amazed that not a day goes by that I don’t tell one of my customers about the experience that we had during our 11-day stay.

I still cannot believe the service we got while there. We were treated as if we were royalty. That being said, I saw every patient there being treated the same way. Even the receptionist in the PICU would ask us if we needed anything. The ENT surgeons would check in to see if we had any questions or if we needed anything. The thing is, everyone that asked us this meant it. You have my vote as the hospital of the decade. … For such a horrible time, the whole experience was made better by your wonderful staff.