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HealthInfo Canterbury

First aid for cuts, scrapes & wounds

FDP first aidYou can usually take care of minor cuts and scrapes at home without seeing a doctor. However, you need to take care to stop the wound becoming infected, and to help it heal quickly.

Stop the bleeding

Put a clean cloth or bandage on the wound, then press gently on it to apply pressure. It may take 20 to 30 minutes to stop it bleeding. Keep the pressure on the whole time, and don't take it off to check what's happening.

Keep the area of the wound raised, if it is possible.

If there is blood spurting that does not stop when you apply pressure, or starts again when you remove the pressure after 20 to 30 minutes, seek medical help immediately.

Clean the wound with tap water

This reduces the chance of the wound becoming infected.

Cover with a sterile, non-stick dressing

Change the dressing daily, and if it gets wet or dirty. This gives you a chance to keep the area clean and to check the wound. Make sure you wash your hands before you change the dressing.

Seek medical help as soon as possible if:

On the next page: How can I help my wound to heal?

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical nurse specialist, wound care. Last reviewed May 2017. Last updated November 2018.


Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at

Page reference: 113877

Review key: HISWU-113876