Cuts and Scrapes
Follow these steps to keep cuts clean and prevent infections and scars:
Wash your hands – First, wash up with soap and water so you don’t get bacteria into the cut and cause an infection. You can also use hand sanitizer.
Stop the bleeding – Put pressure on the cut so that it will stop bleeding, keep the pressure on for a few minutes.
Clean the wound – Once you’ve stopped the bleeding, rinse the cut under cool running water and clean the area around the wound with soap and a wet washcloth.
Remove any dirt or debris – Use a pair of tweezers cleaned with alcohol to gently pick out any dirt, gravel, glass, or other material in the cut.
Do I need to bandage a cut or scrape?
You don’t need to bandage every cut and scrape. Some heal more quickly when left uncovered to stay dry. But if the cut is on a part of the body that might get dirty or rub against clothes, put on a bandage to protect it. Change the bandage regularly so that it will not get infected.
How long should a cut or scrape be covered?
Once a solid scab has formed, you can take off the bandage.
When do I need to call my doctor?
Check with your doctor or go to the emergency room if:
- The cut is deep, long, or the edges are jagged. You may need stitches and a tetanus shot.
- The cut or scrape is from a dirty or rusty object. You may need a tetanus shot.
- The injury is from an animal or human bite.
- You can’t stop the bleeding with direct pressure.
- You can’t get the dirt out of the wound.
- The cut is on your face or near a joint, like on your fingers.
- The skin around the cut gets red and swollen or develops red streaks.
- Pus drains from the cut.
- You have a fever of more than 100.4 F (in either an adult or child).
How do topical antibiotic ointments work?
Topical antibiotics are medicines you put on your skin to kill bacteria. Most cuts and scrapes will heal without ointment, but they can reduce scars and help the wound heal faster. If you do use an antibiotic ointment, apply it to your skin one to three times a day and then cover with a clean bandage.
When should I use gauze and tape?
Gauze and tape work best for large cuts and scrapes that bandages won’t cover. Ask your pharmacist which type of gauze is best for you.
How should I apply gauze and tape?
- Wash your hands with soap and water. You can also wear gloves.
- Gently wash the wound with a wet piece of gauze or washcloth.
- Place a piece of clean gauze over the wound.
- Apply tape around the edges of the gauze to hold it in place.