Scrapes and cuts happen to everyone, especially to little kids. (You should see my nieces and nephews. They are, collectively, one big scrape.) Usually, you don't have to take someone to the ER to take care of a scrape from tripping over s tree root, but it's still important to take care of the problem to avoid scarring and infection. Here are some good basic steps to follow:
- A small scrape should stop bleeding on its own, but some light pressure with a clean washcloth will help with a cut that isn't stopping easily. Make sure to hold the cloth down continuously for 20-30 minutes. If you check, you can pull out the clots that are preventing the bleeding. Wait until the bleeding has really stopped. Blood spurts or continued bleeding after the pressure are good signs that you need additional medical attention.
- Clean the cut or scrape thoroughly. Try not to get soap in the cut itself - if there are still bits of gravel in it after you rinse it with clean water, sterilize a pair of tweezers and pull out any pieces of gravel. Clean the area around the open sore with soap and water. You shouldn't need any iodine or hydrogen peroxide to clean it thoroughly.
- Antibiotic ointments like Neosporin can help to keep out infection and cut down on the risk of scarring, so apply a thin layer of something like it immediately after cleaning and drying the cut.
- Use a bandage. This will keep out infection and will also help you to avoid breaking the cut open again. However, don't keep it covered for more than a couple of days. Once the scrape starts to heal, let it have some air. It will heal faster.
- Change your bandage often - whenever it gets wet or dirty, or daily if it doesn't. Gauze and paper tape will work if you are allergic to adhesive.
- Watch for infection. Make sure that you talk to a doctor if you see excessive redness, swelling, warmth or drainage.
- Get stitches for any cuts that are more that 1/4" deep, are gaping, have jagged edges or have fat coming out. Anything that can't be easily closed and taped should be stitched for quick healing and reduced infection.
- If the cut is deep or very dirty and it's been more than 5 years since your last tetanus shot, get a booster.