Care for wounds during Hemophilia Awareness Month 2016

For caregivers who have to care for wounds of someone with hemophilia, every month is hemophilia awareness month. Especially if that someone is a child because, you know, boys will be boys – and I say that without the slightest trace of sexism; after all, hemophilia tend to affect men more – or at least they should be, in theory. In this day in age, in particular, you have to pry most kids away from their electronic devices and almost force them to come out and play. And regardless of helmets and elbow and knee pads – even if you entirely cover them with bubble wrap – they’re still going to get cut and scraped. And this is where the line in the sandbox is drawn between children with and without hemophilia; the former will bleed more and for longer.

 This is where home medical supplies to care for wounds come in handy for both mild and severe cuts.

For small or superficial cuts and scrapes*:

·         Rinse the cut or wound with water.

·         Apply pressure with sterile gauze, a bandage, or a clean cloth.

For severe cuts**:

  • Rinse the cut or wound with water and apply pressure with sterile gauze, a bandage, or a clean cloth.
  • If blood soaks through the bandage, place a secondary bandage over the first and continue applying pressure.
  • Raise the injured body part to slow bleeding.
  • When the bleeding stops, cover the wound with a new, clean bandage.

*If the bleeding doesn’t stop, the child may require a treatment of factor replacement therapy at home or in the hospital or doctor’s office – whichever is available faster.

**Keep in mind that severe cuts usually warrant a treatment of factor replacement therapy. The tips listed above are for instances in which the cut is severe but the child cannot be taken to a hospital immediately, or while an ambulance arrives.

Overall, parents of children with hemophilia should keep a first day kit – complete with medical supplies to care for wounds – at home and in the car. By the way, first aid kits usually include over the counter pain medications, of which the most ubiquitous is aspirin. Never give aspirin or ibuprofen to a child with hemophilia; they contain salicylates which can actually make the bleeding worse. Use acetaminophen instead. Additionally, the kid should wear a medical bracelet identifying him as a hemophiliac.

But it was care for wounds we were discussing, and on that note, let’s clarify that bandages, gauze, etc., are obviously only for external bleeding. You should talk to your pediatrician about the risk of internal bleeding and how to prevent it or manage it. And also, remember that physical activity is actually recommended for children with hemophilia, because it helps strengthen muscles and protect the joints. Just make sure your kid goes for swimming, running, or bicycling, as opposed to contact sports like wrestling, football, or hockey. Soccer, basketball, or baseball are sort of a gray area about which you might want to ask the child’s doctor.

Related: Early symptoms of hemophilia