XV. First Aid‎ > ‎

K. Cuts and Scrapes

Minor cuts and scrapes usually don’t require a trip to the emergency room. Yet proper care is essential to avoid infection or other complications. These guidelines can help you care for simple wounds: 
  • Stop the bleeding. Apply pressure until the cut/scrape stops bleeding—this can take up to 20 or 30 minutes. 
  • Clean the wound. Rinse the wound with clear water. Soap can sometimes irritate the wound. If you need to pull something out of the wound first, like a splinter, make sure you clean the tweezers with alcohol before to prevent a staph infection. 
  • Apply an antibiotic. After cleaning, apply a thin layer of Neosporin, etc to the wound. 
  • Cover the wound. Bandages can keep the wound clean and keep harmful bacteria out. 
  • Change the dressing. Change the dressing daily or whenever it becomes wet or dirty. 
  • Get stitches for deep wounds. A wound that cuts deeply through the skin or a gaping or jagged-edged and has fat or muscle protruding usually requires stitches. 
  • Watch for signs of infection. See your doctor if the wound isn’t healing or you notice any redness, drainage, warmth or swelling. 
  • Get a tetanus shot. If your wound is deep or dirty, and it has been more than five years since your last shot, you may want to consider getting another. 

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