Scrape

Definition 

A scrape is an area where the skin is rubbed off, usually from falling down or hitting something. Scrapes are usually not serious, but can be painful. There may be mild bleeding.

Call immediately for emergency medical assistance if 

Call your doctor if:

     
  • The scrape contains deeply embedded debris.  
  • 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.

First Aid 

A scrape is often dirty. Even if you don’t see visible dirt, the scrape can get infected. Make sure to clean the area thoroughly.

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Wash the cut thoroughly with mild soap and water. (This is important, even when children cry and protest.)
  3. Large pieces of dirt or debris should be removed with tweezers.
  4. If available, apply antibiotic ointment.
  5. If a small scrape is likely to get rubbed or dirty, apply a non-adhesive bandage. Otherwise let it air dry.
  6. Larger scrapes, or scrapes that bleed more, should be covered with a guaze bandage. Ice can help reduce swelling. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 4, 2012
by Janet G. Derge, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.