Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Wound, cut and graze treatments

2-minute read


You can look after most cuts and wounds yourself.

First, wash your hands. Then:

  • stop any bleeding by holding a clean cloth or bandage on it and apply firm pressure
  • clean the wound by rinsing it with clean water and picking out any dirt or debris with tweezers (don't use antiseptic cream)
  • cover the wound (small wounds can be left uncovered)
  • change the dressing every day

See a doctor or nurse for a tetanus immunisation within a day if you have had any cut or abrasion and any of the following apply:

  • it is more than 10 years since your last tetanus shot or you can’t remember when you last had a tetanus shot
  • it is more than 5 years since your last tetanus shot and there was dirt in in the cut or abrasion, or the cut is deep

It's also important to care for yourself, as this helps wounds heal faster. So eat fresh food, get some exercise, avoid smoking, and avoid drinking too much.

When to get help

You should see a doctor if:

  • you can’t properly clean dirt and debris out of the cut
  • you have cut your hand from punching something or the cut is over a joint
  • the wound is more than a few millimetres deep and/or the sides of the cut don’t sit together well by themselves (i.e. the wound “gapes”). These may need to be closed with stitches, tissue glue or staples
  • the wound is in, or near, your eye
  • the pain gets worse
  • the redness and swelling is increasing
  • you develop a temperature
  • the wound is from a bite, whether by an animal or another human
  • the cut or abrasion was sustained in dirty water
  • you have diabetes

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your wound, cut or graze, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

First aid kit

A first aid kit is an essential item for the home, workplace and vehicles.

Read more on St John Ambulance Australia website

First aid for fractures and dislocations

Information on the management and treatment of fractures and dislocations.

Read more on WA Health website

Fracture or dislocation

First aid fact sheet

Read more on St John Ambulance Australia website


First aid fact sheet

Read more on St John Ambulance Australia website

Snake bite

All known or suspected snake bites must be treated as potentially lifethreatening, and medical aid should be sought urgently.

Read more on St John Ambulance Australia website

Coping during COVID-19 — TINO : Tune In Not Out

When you get a cut or a scrape, you usually have your own first aid kit to help out with that, don’t you? You get some antiseptic cream or wash, maybe grab a bandaid

Read more on Tune In Not Out website

Bleeding | National Centre for Farmer Health

Bleeding may present as minor bleeding from small cuts, abrasions and nosebleeds or severe externally or internally from trauma. Bleeding always requires immediate attention and first aid. Always call triple zero (000) in an emergency.

Read more on National Centre for Farmer Health website

Abrasions in children & teenagers | Raising Children Network

Abrasions are injuries like grazes, scratches or cuts. Lots of children get abrasions. You can usually treat them at home with your family first aid kit.

Read more on website

Bites and Stings

11 of the worlds 12 most poisonous snakes live in Australia. Although relatively few bites and stings are seriously dangerous to humans, it may be difficult to distinguish which bites and stings are serious from those which are not. Basic first aid procedures should be applied in all circumstances followed promptly by appropriate medical treatment.

Read more on Queensland Health website

First aid for bites and stings -

First aid tips for bites and stings from some of the most venomous creatures in the world - snakes, spiders, jellyfish, blue ringed octopus and cone snail - all of which are found in Australia.

Read more on myDr website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo