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A scrape is an area where the skin is rubbed off. It usually occurs after you fall or hit something. A scrape is often not serious. But it can be painful and may bleed slightly.

First Aid

A scrape is often dirty. Even if you do not see dirt, the scrape can get infected. Take these steps to clean the area thoroughly.

  • Wash your hands.
  • Then wash the scrape thoroughly with mild soap and water.
  • Large pieces of dirt or debris should be removed with tweezers. Clean the tweezers with soap and water before use.
  • If available, apply antibiotic ointment.
  • Apply a non-stick bandage. Change the bandage once or twice a day until the scrape has healed. If the scrape is very small, or on the face or scalp, you can let it air dry.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:

  • The scrape has dirt and other debris deep inside.
  • The scrape is very large.
  • The scrape looks like it may be infected. Signs of infection include warmth or red streaks at the injured site, pus, or a fever.
  • You have not had a tetanus shot within 10 years.


Simon BC, Hern HG. Wound management principle. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 59.

Update Date 4/11/2015

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