What are cuts and scratches?
Cuts and scratches are areas of damage on the surface of the
skin. A cut is a line of damage that can go through the skin and into the
muscle tissues below, whereas a scratch is surface damage that does not
penetrate the lower tissues.
Cuts and scratches may bleed or turn red, become infected,
and leave scars.
are the symptoms of cuts and scratches?
The symptoms of cuts and scratches include:
- redness or swelling around the wound
- pain or irritation at the skin surface
What are risk
factors for cuts and scratches?
Cuts and scratches can happen to anyone. People are more
likely to get cuts if they are in a combative situation or if they handle sharp
objects. Scratches are usually accidental.
Children are more susceptible to cuts and scratches than
adults, because they are more active and have less control over their growing
What causes cuts and scratches?
A cut is usually the result of an encounter with a sharp
object, such as a knife or razor blade. Objects with thin edges, like a piece
of paper or a thin cardboard box, can also create cuts if not handled carefully.
A scratch may be caused by an encounter with an abrasive
surface, such as sandpaper, unfinished wood, or concrete. Wounds inflicted by
animals, such as those caused by cats’ claws, are often classified as scratches.
How are cuts and scratches diagnosed?
A cut or scratch can usually be diagnosed through visual
inspection. Some small cuts, like paper cuts, require sharp eyes or magnifying
glasses to see.
are cuts and scratches treated?
There are several ways to treat cuts and scratches,
depending on their severity. If the skin is kept clean, many cuts and scratches
heal on their own. To accelerate that healing process, patients can choose from
the following methods:
Over-the-counter and prescription medications are available
for wound care: antibiotic ointment can prevent infection of a cut or scratch;
pain relievers may reduce irritation and control inflammation around the wound;
and some topical creams may be prescribed to prevent swelling.
If a cut results in a large, open wound, it may require
stitches in order to heal. If the cut becomes infected beyond repair, the area
of infection may have to be removed.
Applying pressure to the cut or scratch can stop the
bleeding. Covering the wound with a bandage will keep it clean and allow for
direct application of antibiotic ointment. The bandage will also absorb any
blood that remains as the wound heals. Before the bandage is applied, the wound
should be cleaned with water, ethyl alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide.
A tetanus booster shot is sometimes recommended after a cut.
is the outlook for cuts and scratches?
Most cuts and scratches go away over time, but some lead to scars and
infections. If a wound becomes infected, it must be treated in order to avoid
serious damage. A severely infected wound may require amputation. In rare
cases, an infected wound can be fatal.
cuts and scratches
To prevent cuts and scratches, avoid dangerous activities and interactions
with sharp or coarse surfaces. Wear clothing to protect your arms, legs, and
core, and be aware of your environment. If you do get a cut or scratch, clean
and treat it immediately to prevent infection.
Cuts and scratches are a part of everyday life, especially
for children. Usually, minor cuts heal on their own as long as you clean them
well and treat them immediately. Serious cuts often require medical attention
from your doctor or the emergency room. To prevent cuts and scratches, avoid dangerous
activities, and wear sufficient clothing to protect yourself. If you or your
child does get a cut or scratch, be sure to clean it and treat it quickly to