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Scrape

Definition

A scrape is an area where the skin is rubbed off. It usually occurs after you fall or hit something. A scrape is often 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. Take these steps to clean the area thoroughly.

  • Wash your hands.
  • Then wash the scrape thoroughly with mild soap and water.
  • Large pieces of dirt or debris should be removed with tweezers. Clean the tweezers with soap and water before use.
  • 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.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:

  • The scrape has 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

Simon BC, Hern HG. Wound management principles. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 52.


Review Date: 5/14/2017
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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