You can look after most cuts and wounds yourself. You can:
- 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
- get stitches if the wound is more than six millimetres deep, or is gaping or has a jagged edge. If it's small and clean, you can close it up yourself using steristrips from a pharmacy.
You probably need a tetanus shot if it's 10 years since your last one, or five years but your wound is deep or dirty.
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:
- the wound is deep
- the wound is to or near your eye
- the pain gets worse
- the redness and swelling is increasing
- you develop a temperature
- the would is from a bite, whether by an animal or another human
- 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).
Last reviewed: July 2015