January 8, 2019
Minor cuts and scrapes are a normal part of childhood. Proper treatment leads to prompt healing and minimal scarring. “The most important thing to do is to gently wash the cut to prevent an infection,” said board-certified dermatologist Laura K. Ferris, MD, PhD, FAAD, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “Beyond that, most minor cuts and scrapes stop bleeding and heal quickly with a few simple steps.”
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends the following tips:
1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
2. Wash the cut to prevent infection. Use cool or lukewarm water and a mild soap or cleanser to gently remove dirt or debris.
3. Stop the bleeding. Apply pressure to the cut using a clean washcloth or gauze. Maintain pressure for one to two minutes or until the bleeding stops.
4. Use petroleum jelly to help keep the wound moist for faster healing. Apply it continuously until the cut heals. To help prevent the spread of dirt and bacteria, consider using petroleum jelly from a tube instead of a jar. Do not apply topical antibiotics.
5. Cover the cut with a sterile bandage to help protect the cut and prevent it from reopening. Change the bandage daily and keep the cut covered until it heals.
6. Consider taking over-the-counter pain medication. Acetaminophen can help relieve painful cuts.
7. Make sure your child’s tetanus vaccination is up to date if the cut is from a dirty or rusty object. If you aren’t sure, contact your primary care doctor.
“Most minor cuts heal in one week or less. If the cut is longer than three-fourths of an inch, more than a quarter inch deep, or won’t stop bleeding, seek imedical attention,” said Dr. Ferris. “As your cut heals, if you notice any signs of an infection, such as pus or increased redness, red steaking, swelling, or pain, call your child’s doctor.”
American Academy of Dermatology, 7/10/18