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HealthInfo Canterbury

First aid for cuts, scrapes & wounds

You can usually take care of minor cuts and scrapes at home without seeing a doctor.

Stop the bleeding

Put a clean cloth, dressing, towel 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.

If a hand or arm is bleeding, raise it above the level of the person's head to reduce the blood flow. If a leg is bleeding, lie the person down and raise their leg above the level of their heart.

If there's blood spurting that doesn't 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

When the wound has stopped bleeding, it's important to clean it to reduce the chance of it getting infected. To do this:

Cover the wound

Apply a sterile dressing such as a plaster.

Change the dressing as often as needed to keep it clean and dry. 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.

When to seek medical help immediately

Seek medical help immediately if:

When to seek medical help as soon as possible

Seek medical help as soon as possible if:

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical nurse specialist, wound care. Last reviewed May 2017. Last updated November 2019.

Sources

See also:

How can I help my wound to heal?

RICE treatment for soft tissue injuries

Page reference: 113877

Review key: HISWU-113876