These steps will help you take care of minor wounds and scrapes. A wound that is more than 1/4-inch (6 millimeters) deep or is gaping or jagged edged and has fat or muscle protruding usually requires 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 reduces the risk of infection. For minor wounds, cuts and scrapes a trip to the ER is usually not required but proper care is still essential to avoid infections and other complications:

  1. Stop the bleeding. Minor cuts and scrapes usually stop bleeding on their own. If they don’t, apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or bandage. Keep the pressure without interruption for 20-30 minutes. (don’t check in between if the bleeding has stopped – this might damage the fresh clot and restart the bleeding). If the bleeding does not stop, seek medical help.
  2. Clean the wound. Rinse the wound with clean water. Soap may irritate the wound so don’t put it on the actual wound. Use clean tweezers to remove dirt or other particles. Thorough cleaning reduces the risk of infection and tetanus. To clean the area around the wound, use soap and a washcloth. Don’t use hydrogen peroxide, iodine or an iodine-containing cleanser.
  3.  Apply an antibiotic. After the wound is clean, apply a thin layer of an antibiotic cream like Neosporin or Polysporin. These product prevent infection so the wound can heal faster.
  4. Cover the wound. Use clean bandages to keep the wound clean and keep harmful bacteria out. Change the dressing at least daily. After the wound has healed enough to make the infection unlikely remove the bandages, the air will speed wound healing.
  5. Tetanus. Doctors recommend you get a tetanus shot every 10 years. If your wound is deep or dirty and your last shot was more than five years ago, your doctor may recommend a tetanus shot booster. Get the booster as soon as possible after the injury.
  6.  Prevent and reduce scarring. After the wound is closed, 2–3 after injury, use a silicone gel like Strataderm to reduce scarring. Silicone reduces redness, flattens and softens the scar, relieves itching.

 

References: Cuts and scrapes: First Aid, Mayo Clinic

Advertisements