First Aid for Grazes

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January 31, 2022

Minor cuts and grazes can be easily treated at home without the need to require any medical assistance. Although painful, grazes will easily heal within a few days if the correct treatment protocol is used at the time of the injury. Basic first aid skills can be used to help someone who has suffered a graze to any part of their body.

Signs & Symptoms

Grazes can be defined as an abrasion of the upper skin layers. These are the protective layers of skin that guard the inner body. A graze will not fully penetrate these layers, but many fine nerve endings will cause pain to the casualty. Alongside pain lookout for the following symptoms:

  • Red/purple patch (caused by the upper skin layer being damaged)
  • Minor bleeding coming out of the patch of damaged skin
  • Dirt/grit stuck within the area
  • Casualty reports a stinging pain in the area

Treatment

Treat any graze using the below 5 step protocol:

  1. Wash your hands and where possible wear gloves
  2. Clean the wound by running it under a gentle flow of water or use alcohol/chemical-free wipes
  3. Pat the area dry with gauze swabs/pads
  4. Apply a sterile dressing like plaster or light adhesive dressing
  5. Ensure plenty of oxygen gets to the area in the next 48 hours to help assist with the healing process

Infection

Infection is more likely to occur when there is dirt/grit within the wound. However, the process of cleaning the damaged area with water and patting with gauze pads can help remove dirt and minimise the risk of infection. 

There is also a heightened risk of infection if there was something within the wound before it was cleaned such as a piece of glass or other material.

Infection can be spotted via the following signs and symptoms:

  • Swelling, redness and pain around the affected area
  • Yellow / green pus coming out of the area
  • High temperature/fever (38 degrees Celsius and above)
  • Swollen glands in the chin, neck, armpit or groin

Visit your GP or a minor medical unit if you believe a grazed area of skin has become infected.

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