Why Do Paper Cuts Hurt So Much?


Paper seems completely harmless, but deployed properly; it can be a serious weapon: paper cuts are just the worst.

Paper cut though  named from papper but it also occured by thin, stiff materials.

It’s all to do with nerve endings. To start with, there are lots more pain receptors embedded in your fingertips than almost anywhere else in your body. So while a paper cut on your arm, or thigh, or ankle might still be annoying, it would probably be more trivial than the intense fiery quality that finger-based paper cuts tend to have.

This actually makes a good deal of evolutionary sense. Fingertips are how we do small delicate tasks. So it makes sense that we have a lot of nerve endings there. It’s kind of a safety mechanism.

To the naked eye, it might seem as if a paper’s edge is fairly straight and smooth. But if you were to zoom in, you’d find that paper is more akin to a saw than to a blade. And paper cuts are typically shallow – but not too shallow. They’re deep enough to get past the top layer of the skin, Otherwise they wouldn’t hurt. The top layer of skin has no nerve endings. But they don’t slice that deep into your body, which is perhaps why it’s puzzling that they should hurt so much. A deeper wound would result in bleeding. The blood would clot and a scab would develop, beneath which the skin could go about healing free from the continued assault  the outside world. But the shallow wound of a paper cut doesn’t offer such protection. Without the cushion of blood, pain receptors are left exposed to the elements, and unless you quickly bandage your paper cut, those neurons will keep on sending the alarm bell. That, after all, is their job.

Unfortunately, each of us is going to face the prospect of enduring a few paper cuts as we go about our lives. Luckily, a thousand paper cuts would really hurt, but it probably wouldn’t kill you.

First aid: Minor cuts and scrapes usually don’t require a trip to the emergency room. These guidelines can help you care for such wounds:

  1. Wash your hands. This helps avoid infection.
  2. Stop the bleeding. Minor cuts and scrapes usually stop bleeding on their own. If not, apply gentle pressure with a sterile bandage or clean cloth and elevate the wound.
  3. Clean the wound. Use clear water to rinse the wound. Also clean around the wound with soap and a washcloth. Keep soap out of the wound, as it can cause irritation. If dirt or debris remains in the wound after washing, use tweezers cleaned with alcohol to remove the particles. If debris still remains, see your doctor. Thorough cleaning reduces the risk of infection and tetanus. There’s no need to use hydrogen peroxide, iodine or an iodine-containing cleanser, which can be irritating to tissue already injured.
  4. Apply an antibiotic. Apply a thin layer of an antibiotic cream or ointment (eg:Neosporin, Polysporin) to help keep the surface moist. These products don’t make the wound heal faster. But they can discourage infection and help the body’s natural healing process. Certain ingredients in some ointments can cause a mild rash in some people. If a rash appears, stop using the ointment.
  5. Cover the wound. Bandages can help keep the wound clean and keep harmful bacteria out. If the injury is just a minor scrape, or scratch, leave it uncovered.
  6. Change the dressing. Do this at least once a day or whenever the bandage becomes wet or dirty. If the injured person is allergic to the adhesive in tapes and bandages, switch to adhesive-free dressings or sterile gauze held in place with paper tape, rolled gauze or a loosely applied elastic bandage. These supplies generally are available at pharmacies.
  7. Get stitches for deep wounds. A deep — all the way through the skin — gaping or jagged wound with exposed fat or muscle will need stitches. Adhesive strips or butterfly tape may hold a minor cut together, but if you can’t easily close the wound, see your doctor as soon as possible. Proper closure within a few hours minimizes scarring and reduces the risk of infection.
  8. Watch for signs of infection. See your doctor if the wound isn’t healing or you notice any redness, increasing pain, drainage, warmth or swelling.
  9. Get a tetanus shot. If the injured person hasn’t had a tetanus shot in the past five years and the wound is deep or dirty, he or she may need a booster shot, as soon as possible.



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