This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
Wounds are generally divided into the following classes: Incised wounds, or cuts usually made with cutting instruments or with glass; lacerated, or torn wounds; contused, or bruised wounds; punctured, or penetrating wounds, and poisonous wounds. Wounds require different treatment, according to their character. Cuts generally heal up quite readily, if properly dressed soon after the wound is inflicted. After the hemorrhage has been stopped, the wound should be carefully washed with pure water, or better, with a solution of carbolic acid, five or ten drops to the ounce of water. When the wound is thoroughly cleansed of blood and all foreign matters, the edges should be brought together and held in position by means of stitches, adhesive plaster or bandages, or all combined. Silk, silver, or iron wire, catgut, and horse-hair are the most suitable material for sutures. If stitches are employed, they should be removed after three or four days, or as soon as the parts have become united. If retained too long, they are a source of irritation. If adhesive plasters are used, narrow strips should be employed, so in case there should be any discharge, there will be an opportunity for it to escape between the strips. When the cut is a long one, adhesive strips will generally require to be reinforced by a bandage. Simple water-dressing, or cloths wet in a solution of carbolic acid, five or ten drops to the ounce, constitues the best dressing for most wounds.
If the end of the finger or toe has been cut off by a sharp instrument, it should be at once replaced, even though it may have been entirely severed. We have known several instances in which the portion replaced in this manner has grown fast. If the severed part is frozen or badly bruised, an attempt to secure union will of course be useless.