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Cuts / Scrapes


Q. What should I do for a cut or scrape?

Immediately: Stop the bleeding (with direct pressure), clean it with soap and water, apply antibiotic ointment, put on a bandaid. If the bleeding doesn't stop with 15 minutes of continuous direct pressure, consider going to the ER.


Follow-Up Care: Apply antibiotic ointment and a new bandage daily (or more often, if it's a large wound). If its draining pus or becomes swollen, tender, or red, see a doctor right away to treat the infection. After the wound heals, apply SPF 30 until it begins fading; healing skin can burn easily, making any scar more visible.

Source: Fast First Aid Tips for 6 Common Accidents

Mayo Clinic Cuts and Scrapes First Aid


Q. When does a wound need stitches?

Proper closure within a few hours minimizes scarring and reduces the risk of infection. You may need stitches if the wound:

  • Is more than 1/4 inch deep, or has jagged edges

  • Won’t stay closed with a bandaid.

  • Goes down to the fat, muscle, bone, or other deep structures.

  • Over a joint, especially if the wound opens when the joint is moves. On the hands or fingers, genitals, or face.

  • Longer than 3/4 in.

  • Continues to bleed after 15 minutes of direct pressure.


Most wounds that require closure should be stitched within 6 to 8 hours after the injury. Some wounds can be closed as long as 24 hours after the injury.

Source:       Mayo Clinic Cuts and Scrapes First Aid

Wall Street Journal: When Does a Cut Need Stitches?

WebMD: Cuts: When Stitches Are Needed


Q: Do cuts heal better under a bandage or when left to "breathe"?

Until it closes up, protect the wound with a bandage to help prevent infection and scab formation. Once it closes up (usually a few days), let it breathe.

Source: Fast First Aid Tips for 6 Common Accidents


Q. How can you keep a bandaid on your squiming little one?

Put him to bed without a bandage; once he's asleep, sneak in and apply a bandaid and antibiotic ointment as needed.

Source: Fast First Aid Tips for 6 Common Accidents


Q: Are antibiotic ointments really necessary?

Medicines like Neosporin or Polysporin can help healing. While these medicines don't necessarily make the wound heal faster, the can reduce infection and help the body's natural healing process. 

Source: Fast First Aid Tips for 6 Common Accidents

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