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Monday Health Tip: Why You Need Baby Shampoo

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(credit: Dr. Dave Hnida)

(credit: Dr. Dave Hnida)

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Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorIt’s not uncommon to take care of a patient with a scrape or cut who proudly announce that they bathed their wound in peroxide or iodine right after it happened.

After all, those are the magic germ killers we’ve been told provide the best first aid after a cut or scrape.

But in truth, we really don’t like those things. (And we really hate alcohol)

Obviously they sting, but more importantly, they tend to be a little too harsh for most wounds — even to the point of damaging normal tissue, as well as possibly delaying healing.

We actually tend to opt for simple … and gentle.

Many wounds really don’t need to be nuked, they just need a good cleanse and rinse. And that’s where the baby shampoo comes in.

It’s a soap product, right? It doesn’t sting, right? And if it gentle enough for a baby, it’s gentle enough for you.

Go to the local ER with a cut, odds are that’s what will be used to clean a routine wound.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s what we stock our first aid kids and aid stations with.

So, let’s say you get a cut that needs a little clean-up. (And remember, we are not talking about a gnarly, dirt-filled, gaping cut that’s pouring blood).

First, direct pressure on a wound should stop or slow down the oozing.

Next step — some lukewarm or slightly cool water from the tap.

A little baby shampoo, or even some mild dishwashing liquid will help get the crud out.

Then apply the first aid ointment of your choice, along with a dressing. (We’ll talk about the need — or un-need for those at another time.)

Once again, if you’ve got a wound that is bleeding heavily, deep, jagged, disfiguring, etc. etc, come in and let us take a look. Always play it safe.

But if you’ve got simple, keep it simple. A gentle cleanse is often all you need.

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