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Lacerations - liquid bandage

Description

A laceration is a cut that goes all the way through the skin. The cut can be small and cared for at home. Or the cut can be large and need immediate medical attention right away.

If the cut is minor, a liquid bandage (liquid adhesive) can be used on the cut to close the wound and help stop bleeding.

Using a liquid bandage is quick to apply. It causes only slight burning when applied. Liquid bandages, seal the cut closed after only 1 application. There is less chance for infection since the wound is sealed shut.

These products are waterproof, so you can shower or bathe without worry.

The seal lasts for 5 to 10 days. It will fall off naturally after it has done its job. In some cases after the seal falls off, you can reapply more liquid bandage if needed. But most minor cuts will be mostly healed at this point.

Using these products may also help keep scars from forming at the injury site. Liquid adhesives can be found at your local pharmacy.

Alternative Names

Skin adhesives; Tissue adhesive; Skin cut - liquid bandage; Wound - liquid bandage

Applying and Caring for a Liquid Bandage

With clean hands or a clean towel, wash the area of the cut with cold water and soap. Dry with a clean towel. Make sure the site is completely dry.

The liquid bandage should not be placed inside the wound, but on top of the skin, where the cut comes together.

  • Create a seal by gently bringing the cut together with your fingers.
  • Apply the liquid bandage over the top of the cut. Spread it from one end of the cut to the other, covering the cut completely.
  • Hold the cut together for about a minute to give the adhesive enough time to dry.

DO NOT use liquid bandage around the eyes, in the ear or nose, or internally in the mouth. If the liquid is accidentally applied to any of these areas call your health care provider or local emergency number (such as 911).

It is OK to bathe after the liquid adhesive has dried. Try not to scrub the site. Doing so may loosen the seal or even remove the adhesive completely. It is also OK to wash the site with soap and water daily to keep the area clean and prevent infection. Pat the site dry after washing.

DO NOT use any other ointments on the site of the cut. This will weaken the bond and slow the healing process.

DO NOT scratch or scrub the site. This will remove the liquid bandage.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor right away if:

  • There is any redness, pain, or yellow pus around the injury. This could mean there is an infection.
  • There is bleeding at the injury site that will not stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure.
  • You have a fever of 100°F (38.3°C) or higher.
  • There is pain at the site that will not go away, even after taking pain medicine.

References

Beard JM, Osborn J. Common office procedures. In: Rakel RE, Rakel DP, eds. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 28.

Simon BC, Hern HG. Wound management principles. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 59.


Review Date: 1/21/2016
Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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