Ripped lips can be very painful. If not treated properly, a wound can progress from a mere irritation to a major infection, especially if dirt and other foreign particles are embedded in the wound and not cleaned. This article will explain both how to stop wound bleeding quickly and how to perform further treatments to prevent the risk of infection or scarring.
Washing hands. Before handling any wound, always make sure your hands are as clean as possible, to prevent any infected wounds that may be on the skin of the hands. Use warm water and antibacterial hand soap, if available. Antibacterial hand sanitizer can also be used after washing your hands.
Use vinyl gloves if available. Latex gloves can also be used, but make sure the person being treated is not allergic to latex. The important thing is to create a sterile, clean barrier between the hand and the wound.
Prevent wound contamination. Do not breathe or cough/sneeze near the wound area.
Stick the patient’s head forward. Direct the person with bleeding lips to sit up straight, then stretch forward and lower the chin towards the chest. By flowing the blood forward, out of the mouth, you prevent the patient from swallowing their own blood, which can cause vomiting and a choking hazard.
Check for other associated injuries. Usually when the mouth is injured, there is another associated wound caused by the initial injury. Seek immediate medical attention if there are other associated injuries, which may include:
loose or extracted teeth
facial bone or jaw fracture
difficulty swallowing or breathing
Make sure the patient has had the vaccine update. If the trauma causing the wound involves pieces of metal or other soiled objects or surfaces, the patient may be at risk for tetanus infection.
Infants and young children should receive a tetanus shot at 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months, and again at 15-18 months, with a booster shot given between 4-6 years of age.
If the wound is dirty, make sure the patient has had a tetanus booster shot in the last 5 years. If not, the injection should be given immediately.
Teenagers should get a booster shot between the ages of 11-18.
A tetanus booster shot should be given to adults every 10 years.
Remove all mouth jewelry. Ask the patient to remove any jewelery that may be around the wound, including the tongue or lip ring. Also remove any food or gums that may have been in the mouth when the injury occurred.
Clean the wound. This step is important to prevent infection and reduce the risk of scarring.
If there is an object in the wound—such as dust particles or gravel—remove it by directing the patient to position the wound under running tap water until it is clear of foreign particles.
If the position is not comfortable for the patient. Take a glass of water and pour it on the wound. Refill the glass until the wound is clear of all foreign particles.
Use a cotton swab to apply hydrogen peroxide to the wound. Just make sure you don’t swallow the solution.
Stop the Bleeding
Press the wound. It is better for the patient to press the injured lip himself, but if assistance is required, make sure you wear clean rubber gloves.
With a clean towel or piece of gauze or bandage, press the wound gently and firmly for a full 15 minutes. If the blood is completely soaking the towel, gauze, or bandage, add a new gauze or bandage, without removing the first towel/gauze/bandage.
Check the wound after 15 minutes. The blood may still drip or ooze slightly for up to 45 minutes, but if the blood continues to flow after the first 15 minutes, seek medical attention immediately.
The mouth—including the gums, tongue, and lips—has many blood vessels and a large blood supply. So, sores in the mouth tend to bleed more than wounds on other parts of the body.
Press the wound inwards, toward the teeth, jaw, or gums.
If the patient is uncomfortable with this, place gauze or a clean cloth between the patient’s teeth and lips, then continue to apply pressure to the wound.
Contact a medical professional if necessary. If the bleeding has not stopped after 15 full minutes of pressure, or if the patient has difficulty breathing or swallowing, or the patient’s teeth are loose or appear to be moving out of position or unable to remove all the debris, or if you are concerned about other sores on the face, see a doctor immediately. determine whether the wound requires stitches or other expert medical treatment. See a doctor as soon as possible, as the chance of infection increases the longer the wound is left open and bleeding. If in doubt, contact your doctor immediately.
If the lip is completely torn, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. If the tear extends from the red part of the lip to the normal skin-colored area above or below the lip (above the vermilion line), see a doctor immediately for stitches. Sutures reduce the risk of infection and help ensure the wound heals as aesthetically as possible.
Doctors recommend stitches if the wound is deep and open, i.e. two fingers can be placed on either side of the wound, and the wound can be opened easily.
The doctor may also recommend stitches if there are sheets of skin that are easy to sew on.
Deep incisions that need to be sutured should not be left for more than 8 hours, maximum limit, before receiving safe treatment.
Know what will happen. Minor sores in the mouth usually heal within 3-4 days, but more serious or deep sores can take a long time to heal, especially if they are on areas of the lips that move a lot when eating and drinking.
If you have seen a doctor, the patient must comply with the doctor’s instructions for treating the wound, including the consumption of all prescribed drugs, such as antibiotics.
Use a cold compress. A cold compress or a few ice cubes wrapped in a clean washcloth or plastic bag can help relieve pain and inflammation.
Apply the ice pack for 20 minutes, followed by an interval of 10 minutes without the compress.
Consider using a topical antiseptic product or natural alternatives. After stopping the initial bleeding, start treating the wound so it heals properly. There is little debate in the medical world about whether antiseptic creams are necessary or even useful, especially if the cream is heavily applied to the wound. However, some studies do show that these creams can aid healing if used properly.
If you choose to use a topical antiseptic cream, you can buy it at a pharmacy or department store without a prescription. When in doubt, ask your doctor or pharmacist to determine which product is best for your wound. Be sure to use the selected product exactly according to the instructions so as not to use too much or too often.
Alternatively, honey or granulated sugar can be applied to the wound. Sugar absorbs water out of the wound, preventing bacteria from getting the hydration they need to grow. Honey also has antibacterial properties. Studies have shown that applying sugar or honey to a wound before dressing can relieve pain and prevent infection.
Limit mouth movement. If the patient opens the mouth too wide—for example, when yawning, laughing out loud, or taking large amounts of food into the mouth—pain may occur and the sores may reopen. If it re-opens, the wound is also at risk of becoming infected, and the healing process must be started all over again.
Eat soft foods. The less you chew, the less chance the wound will open again. The patient should also drink as much as possible to keep the body and tissues hydrated; which also helps prevent the wound from opening again.
Do not touch the wound with salt or oranges, as they can cause a painful burning sensation.
Don’t eat hard, crunchy, or sharp foods, such as potato chips or tortillas .
Run warm water over the wound after eating to wash away any food particles that may have been left behind.
Check with the doctor if the patient has difficulty eating or drinking due to the wound.
Immediately see a doctor if signs of infection occur. Despite your best efforts to prevent further infection and injury, sometimes the healing process doesn’t go as expected. See a doctor immediately if the following symptoms occur:
Fever of 38ºC or more
Body temperature too low
The wound becomes red, swollen, hot or painful, or has pus
The pulse is too fast
Breathing too fast
Nausea and vomiting
Difficult to open mouth
The skin around the wound is red, painful, or swollen