When it comes to minor cuts and scrapes, proper treatment is essential to prevent infection and promote healing. Treating minor cuts and scrapes involves properly cleaning, applying antibiotic ointment, and covering the wound with a sterile dressing. Regularly changing the dressing and monitoring for signs of infection are crucial during healing.
First and foremost, stop the bleeding. Start by washing your hands with soap and water to prevent further contamination. Minor cuts and scrapes usually stop bleeding by simply raising the wound above the level of your heart. If the bleeding continues, firmly press the wound with a clean bandage or cloth until it stops.1
Once you stop the bleeding, cleanse the wound thoroughly. Delicately rinse the cut or scrape under cool running water to eliminate dirt or debris. Steer clear of harsh antiseptics or hydrogen peroxide that can harm healthy tissue.2
After cleaning the wound, apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment to help prevent infection. This also keeps the wound moist, encouraging the healing process.3 Cover the cut or scrape with a sterile adhesive bandage or gauze pad to protect it from further injury and keep it clean.
Change the dressing regularly, especially if it becomes wet or dirty. This helps prevent infection and promotes faster healing. While healing, carefully watch for any signs of increased pain, redness, swelling, or pus. If you notice any of these symptoms of infection, seek medical attention quickly.
While minor cuts and scrapes usually heal within a week or two, certain circumstances may require medical intervention. Seek medical help if the wound appears deep, gaping, or continues bleeding with direct pressure. Additionally, if the injury occurred due to a dirty or rusty object, or if you are unsure about the severity of the wound, consult a healthcare professional.
- Cuts and Scrapes: First Aid | NCH Healthcare System. 16 Nov. 2011, https://nchmd.org/health-library/articles/art-20056711/. ↩︎
- How to Treat Minor Cuts. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/injured-skin/burns/treat-minor-cuts. Accessed 21 Sept. 2023. ↩︎
- This contradicts some ideas, but I successfully use moist and dry treatments. I recommend studying both methods and learning to determine which works best for you.
Wound Care Society. “Does a Wound Heal Faster Dry or Moist?” Wound Care Society, 12 Jan. 2016, https://woundcaresociety.org/wound-heal-faster-dry-moist. ↩︎