Minor cuts usually can be treated
at home. If you do not have an increased chance of getting an infection, do
not have other injuries, and do not need treatment by a doctor or a tetanus shot, you can clean and bandage a cut at home. Home treatment can help
prevent infection and promote healing.
The American Red Cross recommends that everyone use blood and body fluid precautions with first aid treatment.
Stop the bleeding with direct pressure
to the wound.
Nonprescription products are available to be applied to the
skin to help stop mild bleeding of minor cuts, lacerations, or abrasions.
Before you buy or use one, be sure to read the label carefully and follow the
label's instructions when you apply the product.
After you have
stopped the bleeding, check your symptoms to determine if and
when you need to see your doctor.
Clean the wound
Clean the wound as soon as possible
to reduce the chance of infection, scarring, and tattooing of the skin from
dirt left in the wound.
- Remove large pieces of dirt or other debris from the wound with cleaned tweezers. Do not push the tweezers
deeply into the wound.
- Wash the wound for 5 minutes with large amounts
of cool water and soap (mild dishwashing soap, such as Ivory, works well). Some nonprescription products are available for wound
cleaning that numb the area so that cleaning doesn't hurt as much. Be sure to
read the product label for correct use.
- Don't use rubbing alcohol,
hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or Mercurochrome, which can harm the tissue and slow
Stitches, staples, or skin adhesives (also called liquid stitches)
Determine if your wound needs to be closed by a
doctor with stitches, staples, or skin adhesives.
will tell you how to
take care of your stitches or staples and when to
return to have them removed.
Skin adhesives usually do not need to be removed, but your doctor may wish to
see you to check on the wound. Be sure to carefully follow your doctor's
instructions. If you are unsure of how to care for your wound or have
questions, call your doctor for instructions.