Emergency advice

Cuts and grazes:

  1. Clean it, dry it, cover it with sterile gauze or a clean, non-fluffy cloth.
  2. Keep it raised and apply a dressing or plaster. 

What is a cut?

A cut is when the skin is fully broken.

What is a graze?

A graze is when only the top layers of skin are scraped off.

What to do

  1. Clean the wound by rinsing it under running water or using sterile wipes. 

  2. Do not rub.  Pat the wound dry using a gauze swab and cover it with sterile gauze. If you don’t have these, use a clean, non-fluffy cloth, like a tea towel. 

  3. For a cut, raise and support the injured part above the level of the heart. Avoid touching the wound.

  4. Clean around the wound with soap and water. Make sure you are wiping away from the wound, using a clean swab for each stroke. Pat dry. Remove the cloth or gauze covering the wound and apply a sterile dressing or a large plaster. 

  5. Seek medical help if:

    • a wound won’t stop bleeding
    • a foreign object is embedded in the wound – like a splinter of wood or glass
    • the wound is from a human or animal bite
    • you think the wound might be infected
    • you are unsure whether the casualty has been immunised against tetanus.

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Related first aid advice

How to use a plaster

A plaster, or adhesive dressing, can be used to cover small cuts and grazes. Learn what to do.


Bruises can be painful and tender. Find out what causes bruising and what to do.

Severe bleeding

When bleeding is severe, it can be dramatic and distressing. Find out what to do.

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