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Scrape

A scrape is an area where the skin is rubbed off. It usually occurs after you fall down or hit something. A scrape is usually not serious. But it can be painful and may bleed slightly.

First Aid

A scrape is often dirty. Even if you do not see dirt, the scrape can get infected. Make sure to clean the area thoroughly.

Wash your hands.

  • Wash the cut thoroughly with mild soap and water.
  • Large pieces of dirt or debris should be removed with tweezers. (Clean the tweezers with soap and water first.)
  • If available, apply antibiotic ointment.
  • Apply a non-stick bandage. Change the bandage once or twice a day until the scrape has healed. If the scrape is very small, or on the face or scalp, you can let it air dry.
  • Do not apply ice directly to the skin.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:

  • The scrape contains dirt and other debris deep inside.
  • The scrape is very large.
  • The scrape looks like it may be infected. Signs of infection include warmth or red streaks at the injured site, pus, or a fever.
  • You have not had a tetanus shot within 10 years.

References

Trott AT. Wounds and Lacerations: Emergency Care and Closure. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chaps 7, 20.

Updated: 4/14/2013

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.


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