cut from glass
For a glass cutting injury, first, clean the wound with warm water and soap, and then carefully remove pieces of glass with sanitized tweezers.

The approach for the management of a glass cutting injury will be based on the severity of the wound.

If the cut is not very deep with no severe bleeding, you may follow these first aid steps to manage the wound:

  • To stop the bleeding
    • Apply direct pressure over the wound using a clean cloth or gauze piece until the bleeding stops.
    • If the cloth or gauze gets soaked, instead of removing the piece from the wound, put an additional piece of cloth over the soaked one to keep the pressure constant.
    • Do not apply a tourniquet because it may reduce the blood supply and cause tissue necrosis.
  • Cleaning the cut to prevent infection
    • Before touching the exposed wound, your hands must be cleaned properly to avoid the spread of germs and infections.
    • Gently clean the wound with a cotton cloth or gauze piece soaked in soap and warm water.
    • Dettol antiseptic liquid or other mild antiseptics can be applied as well to prevent the wound from getting infected.
    • Harsh chemicals, such as hydrogen peroxide, should be avoided to prevent further tissue erosion.
  • Covering the wound for its protection
    • If any skin flap is present, then it must be properly placed over the wound.
    • After cleaning and proper drying up, it has to be covered to prevent its contact with the external environment and avoid contamination.
    • Apply over-the-counter antibiotic cream and put a bandage over it.
    • The bandage must be changed at frequent intervals.

For deep cuts or punctures that do not stop bleeding after applying first aid, take the patient to the nearby hospital for medical management as soon as possible.

What are the injuries possible by a glass cut?

The following injuries are possible from glass cutting:

  • Superficial abrasion
  • Small, incised cut with little bleeding
  • Major incised cut with heavy bleeding
  • Puncture wound
  • Laceration

How do you identify a deep glass cutting injury?

A glass cutting injury will cause the following:

  • A deep wound with its edges completely separated
  • The blood oozes out even after applying pressure and multiple gauze pieces
  • The muscle, tendon or bone are exposed completely
  • Complete loss of sensation and function of the affected area (probably due to a nerve being cut)

If a simple cut gets infected, it will present with redness, pain, swelling, fever or fluid leak.

In case a large piece of glass is inside the wound, don’t try to forcefully take it out because it may rupture the involved blood vessel, increasing the risk of bleeding.

If there is any completely separated body part, such as part of the finger, then put it in a clean plastic bag with ice-cold water and take it to the hospital along with the patient for its reconstruction, if possible.

What are the complications of glass cutting injuries?

The following are the complications of glass cut injuries:

  • Wound infection
  • Gangrene of the affected part
  • Sepsis
  • Nerve damage
  • Loss of function
  • Organ damage and amputation

How do you prevent injuries from glass?

The following may help prevent injuries from glass:

  • Don’t work around sharp objects without proper protective gear.
  • After an accident, try safely removing the broken or shattered glass as soon as possible.
  • Always try to wear shoes around broken objects.

Additionally, always having a DIY first aid kit on hand, which includes gauze, bandages and ointment, can help treat minor cuts and gashes. You can also consult your doctor for first aid treatment information.

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Medically Reviewed on 9/2/2021
References
Northwestern Medicine. Hand Injuries Caused by Glass. https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/hand-injuries

Medline Plus. Cuts and Puncture Wounds. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000043.htm