How to Treat Cuts & Scrapes: What You Need to Know

November 7, 2022
A doctor gently holds the hand of a child with a bandaged finger

Cuts and scrapes can happen, oftentimes all too easily. When they do, it’s important to know how to treat them properly to prevent an infection from developing and promote faster, easier healing. You may not always need to seek medical care, but knowing how to act when a cut or scrape occurs can make all the difference. Thankfully, PhysicianOne Urgent Care is here to lay out everything you need to know about caring for minor injuries like cuts and scrapes.

Determine If Emergency Care Is Needed

In most cases, a cut or scrape is likely to be non-life-threatening and can easily be treated with at-home remedies. However, severe injuries may warrant the help of a medical professional—either at an urgent care center or the Emergency Room if truly dire. If you notice bleeding that is intense, light-headedness from loss of blood, or weakness/numbness on one side of the body, the ER should be your first stop after your injury is sustained.

If, however, your cut or scrape is severe—deep enough to require stitches or has become infected—but not enough to warrant a trip to the ER, an urgent care center like PhysicianOne is a great place to seek high-quality treatment.

How to Take Care of Cuts & Scrapes When They Happen

Whether you tripped while walking the dog, fell off your bicycle during your morning ride, or sustained a minor injury while out camping, you need to take action as quickly as possible to prevent the injury from worsening. Here’s what you need to do to treat cuts and scrapes on your own:

  • First, wash your hands or use a high alcohol-containing hand sanitizer if you don’t have access to soap and water
  • If the wound is actively bleeding, cover it with gauze or a clean piece of fabric and apply gentle pressure to stop the bleeding
  • Rinse the cut or scrape with clean water and wash it with soap (you can repeat this step multiple times if needed to ensure the wound is properly cleaned)
  • Apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment
  • Cover the cut or scrape with a bandage

You should also check if you may need stitches, a tetanus shot, or another form of medical treatment that cannot be applied at home.

How to Tell If a Cut Is Infected

During the healing process, an important step in caring for a cut or scrape is checking for signs of an infection. If you notice any of the following signs, an infection may be present:

  • The area surrounding your cut or scrape has become red (and this area gets larger over time)
  • The surrounding area has become swollen, painful, or tender to the touch
  • The wound is weeping fluid, particularly an odorous or off-color fluid
  • Red streaks have spread from the site of the cut or scrape
  • A fever has developed, especially above 100.4° F
  • The lymph nodes have become enlarged

Should these tell-tale signs become obvious, you should seek treatment from an urgent care center as quickly as possible to be evaluated and prevent complications from the infection.

Treatment for Cuts & Scrapes at PhysicianOne Urgent Care

If you or someone you know requires treatment for a cut or scrape, PhysicianOne Urgent Care is here to help. Our centers are open seven days a week, 365 days per year so that you can get the reliable care you need whenever you need it—all at a fraction of the cost of the Emergency Room. To save time and get the treatment you need faster, find a location near you and check in online today.

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Throughout the visit I felt like the staff really cared. The doctor took his time talking with me about my symptoms, and I felt like he listened to all my concerns and took that into consideration when recommending the right treatment. Thank you!
Hamden, CT
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