While slicing peaches for canning, I slipped and cut my finger Monday. Nothing major, and not something I do often, but it sure hurt. And bled. And bled. And bled some more.
A tiny little cut that I figured would ooze a tiny amount of blood for a minute or two, then stop, did not stop. It put out a good stream of blood (much more than expected) for an awfully long time. Trying to think of some way to make it stop, I thought my dad used to put alum on shaving cuts. He said that helped them stop bleeding.
If you’ve ever heard this before, let me assure you that it is not true. Do NOT put alum on a cut. It doesn’t stop the bleeding, and it hurts worse than the original injury. The pain of the cut was nothing compared to the pain of dipping my finger in alum! I rinsed my finger, and the free-flowing blood did an effective job of getting all the alum out of my cut.
Recalling that one of my meds had something in the cautions & warnings section about phoning the doctor about open wounds, I pulled out all the papers that the pharmacy hands out every month. Nothing in all that microscopic print said anything about open cuts – must’ve been one of the meds I discontinued. Good, because I would have felt like an idiot if I’d needed to contact my doctor to say, “I have a tiny cut on my finger, and it’s probably going to be fine, but the prescription warnings say I’m supposed to call about things like this. Oh, btw, it won’t stop bleeding.”
The warning that I found to be most pertinent was on two different meds. It says, in all-caps:
THIS MEDICINE MAY REDUCE THE NUMBER OF BLOOD CELLS WHICH ARE NEEDED FOR CLOTTING.
Four people in my house hold CPR/First Aid cards. We should be able to figure out how to stop bleeding from a small cut. I finally dampened yet another clean cloth and wrapped it around my finger, then pulled a latex glove over everything and held my arm over my head. The cloth absorbed more blood, and the glove held steady pressure on the cut. Problem solved. It took two hours for the bleeding to stop.
Back to the medication paperwork, searching for more information, I found this oh-so-helpful recommendation:
Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury.
What a useless waste of ink. I thought these meds were supposed to give me back my life, not confine me to bed to avoid risk of injury. It would be much more helpful to follow, “This medicine may reduce the number of blood cells which are needed for clotting,” with tips on how to stop the bleeding if and when it does occur.