Whether you’re a veteran at whipping things up in the kitchen or a novice trying your hand at cooking for the first time, odds are that you are going to have a clumsy moment that leads to an accident in the kitchen at some point. Even the most seasoned chefs have been known to knick themselves with those sharp knives. If you ever have a cut that leaves you bloodier than your steak, here are some tips on what to do when you cut your finger while cooking

treat finger

How Do You Treat a Sliced Finger Tip?

While the sight of your own blood may be alarming, the good news is that you most likely just need to clean the cut with soap and water. For that reason, the kitchen is arguably the best place to break the skin– everything you need to treat your injury is nearby. 

Conversely, the risk of infection is high because uncooked food, especially raw meat, is almost certainly covered in bacteria. But assuming that it is only a minor cut on your finger, odds are that there is no need to call 911; but you should still be aware of cutting your finger while cooking. 

Follow these steps to treat a cut that prevents infection and ensure that it is healing properly: 

  • Assess the wound. If the cut is too deep or wide to treat at home, or the bleeding does not slow,  you should try to wrap the wound and go immediately to an emergency room or urgent care. The situation could be a medical emergency if you puncture a blood vessel or need a tetanus shot. Otherwise, continue with at-home care. 
  • Clean the wound. It is normal to see significant bleeding initially so you shouldn’t be too worried. Run the injured finger under warm water and wash it thoroughly with soap. Use antibacterial soap if you have it.
  • Apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Even small paper cuts tend to bleed for a while so hold a clean cloth or paper towel to the wound until it stops. 
  • If necessary, apply an antiseptic. Most wounds should heal fine with soap and water, but if the wound is painful or particularly deep, applying some sort of treatment might make you feel better and expedite the healing process. 
  • Bandage the wound. This will prevent the wound from reopening and protect it from infection. 
infection finger

How Do You Know If a Cut Is Infected?

A wound infection occurs when germs grow inside the damaged skin of a wound. If your cut is infected, you might have symptoms like increased pain, swelling, and redness. More serious infections may cause symptoms like nausea, fever, or chills.  

If the infection seems minor, you can likely be successful at treating it yourself. 

  • Only touch the wound with clean hands. 
  • Keep the wound clean. If you think there might be some debris inside it, sterilize some tweezers or use a damp cloth to gently remove it. 
  • Change the wound dressing at least once a day. Replace the dressing immediately if it becomes wet or gets dirty. 
  • If the wound does not show improvement in 1-2, see a doctor. 

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heal finger

How Long Does it Take For a Cut on the Finger to Heal? 

Healing times vary. However, while it is generally dependent on the person’s overall health and the type of injury, most minor cuts should heal in 3 to 7 days. Be aware to make sure you do not cut your finger while cooking. 

If time passes and your injury does not show improvement, it is probably time to visit an ER or urgent care for professional medical attention. Find a Village Emergency Center near you; we have a full staff of board-certified physicians ready at a moment’s notice. No matter the time of day, have confidence you’ll receive expert care without the wait.