Minor Wounds, Cuts and Grazes

graze on child's kneeHow bad is your cut?

Cuts and grazes are a hazard of our everyday life.

If your wound:

  • Continues to bleed after 10 minutes of applying pressure
  • Cut is longer than 1.5cm or deep
  • Cut cannot be easily pulled together and stay closed.
  • You can see yellow subcutaneous fatty tissue
  • Embedded object – glass, grit, broken blade etc. Never remove anything embedded
  • Result of a bite, animal or human causing a puncture wound
  • Injury is to the face, mouth, hand or genitals
  • Area of wound is subject to a lot of movement preventing good closure

Any of these, you need to seek professional medical help from A&E as soon as possible.

The wound will need cleaning properly and probably need stitches

 Get someone to take you to A&E, only call an ambulance if you believe it’s a life-threatening situation

Treating minor cuts and grazes

You should try to keep wounds clean to avoid infection

Firstly, wash your hands and thoroughly dry them before starting to treat any cuts and grazes

Then use disposable nitrile gloves if you have them – all First Aid Boxes have them

Always get your casualty to sit or lie down – they may feel faint

A graze or minor cut can be gently wiped with a soft gauze pad soaked in salt water. Alternatively use an alcohol-free wipe or run under cool water to remove any dirt.

If the wound is minor and not bleeding in a way that would suggest an artery or vein has been cut, wash it for 5 – 10 minutes under cool tap water.

Dry the wound gently by patting with a clean towel or tissues. Don’t use cotton wool or fluffy material as these get stuck in the cut.

Finally, bandage with a sterile dressing such as a non-adhesive type of pad or plaster. Maintain pressure on the wound

For a more significant bleed use a non-fluffy dressing preferably sterile. Apply direct pressure to the wound, holding the cut edges together if possible.

When bleeding seeps through the dressing, remove the dressing and look carefully for the bleeding source and put on a fresh dressing.

If there’s something embedded in the wound do not remove it. If the object is sharp, (glass or a blade) and it has cut going in it will cut coming out and do more damage. Also it could be acting as a plug and stopping a more serious bleed

Don’t put pressure on the object but press from the sides.

Aftercare of your wounds

You should get advice from your GP if the wound appears to become infected:

  • Redness and hot around the site
  • Swelling
  • Painful
  • Wound is oozing or pusy
  • You are diabetic