April 7, 2011

Basic First Aid for Printers & Book Artists

Friend and fellow printer Steph blogged recently about the horrifying experience of accidentally slicing her finger open while working on a book art project.

But any artist/designer/printer who works with sharp tools, heating elements, or heavy machinery is just as likely to have a similarly lurid story about an accident that left them bleeding profusely / so panicked they were unable to think clearly / less pained than they were upset that their gushing blood ruined the product of hours of painstaking labor.

So I've compiled some basic first-aid tips for people like us. Although realistically, if you've hurt yourself badly, you should seek immediate medical treatment instead of reading this blog.

MINOR CUTS (e.g. x-acto, papercut) & PUNCTURE WOUNDS (e.g. gouging self with linoleum cutter) 
  1. Stop the bleeding. If bleeding doesn't stop on its own, apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or bandage. Hold the pressure continuously for 20 minutes. If possible, elevate the wound above the level of the heart. If bleeding persists — if the blood spurts or continues to flow after several minutes of pressure — seek emergency assistance.
  2. Clean the wound. Rinse out the wound with clear water. No need to use hydrogen peroxide or iodine. Don't use soap, which can irritate the wound. If dirt or debris remains in the wound after washing, use tweezers cleaned with alcohol to remove superficial particles. If debris still remains in the wound, see your doctor.
  3. Apply an antibiotic to prevent infection. After you clean the wound, apply a thin layer of an antibiotic cream or ointment to help keep the surface moist.
  4. Cover the wound to keep it clean and prevent infection. After the wound has healed enough to make infection unlikely, exposure to the air will speed wound healing.

MINOR BURNS (e.g. t-shirt dryer) 
  1. Cool the burn. Hold under cool running water or immerse in cool water for 10 minutes. Do not use ice.
  2. Cover the burn loosely with a sterile bandage to keep it clean and prevent infection. Do not cover the burn with ointment, or break any blisters.

MINOR SQUISHED FINGER (e.g. a spring-loaded chunk of metal bashes into your finger)
  1. Cool the area immediately to prevent swelling.
  2. If skin is broken, see minor cuts/puncture wounds for dressing it.

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