Abrasions and cuts

Abrasions and cuts can be superficial or reach deep into the tissue.

Abrasions and cuts


Toddler with abrasion on the knee

Abrasions and cuts are skin wounds caused by external influences. They can be superficial or reach deep into the tissue. In the worst case, larger vessels are injured and there is heavy bleeding. Especially dangerous are deeper injuries near nerves, tendons or organs and near the eyes. Through the open wound germs can easily reach deep into the skin and also into the blood vessel system. Then the danger for - sometimes serious - infections is great. This is especially true for contaminated wounds or when wounds are caused by a dirty or germinant object. Without Tetanus vaccination there is also the risk of tetanus.


Abrasions can damage the skin only superficially or even destroy deeper skin layers to the dermis. Frequently, the skin is scoured flat, swollen and bleeding. Sometimes you see impurities, for example, gravel and split.

For cuts, the skin is often only superficially severed (for example, by so-called scratches in borderline syndrome). However, cuts made by knives or saws can go deep into the skin and sometimes even reach the muscle layer or the bone. Deep cuts often bleed very badly. The edges of the wound are swollen and smooth or ragged depending on the subject of injury.


Common causes of abrasions are falls and sports injuries. Abrasions are caused by friction that hurts the upper layers of the skin. The stronger the friction forces, the deeper the wound.

Cuts occur when the skin is severed by a sharp object. This is done mainly by cuts of knives, saws or shards. Even a piece of paper can cause cuts. Often, cuts are mainly in kitchen work, in hobby in home-working or in everyday working life (especially if protective measures are not complied with in accordance with regulations).


The diagnosis of abrasions and cuts can be easily made on the basis of obvious skin injuries. Suspicion is confirmed by the question of the accident.


Proper treatment of abrasions and cuts promotes healing and reduces the risk of wound infection. In addition, the tetanus protection should always be checked for wounds of any kind and, if necessary, be made up or refreshed.

Treatment of abrasions

Abrasions are very often polluted and contaminated with foreign bodies (for example carpet fibers, gravel or split). Therefore, they must first be cleaned and disinfected. The cleaning is done with plenty of saline or Ringer's solution (if necessary with water) to wash out the coarse dirt. Larger dirt particles can be removed with a sterile swab or tweezers. For heavily soiled abrasions, cleaning may sometimes be done with a brush under local anesthesia or general anesthesia.

The clean abrasion should then be rinsed with antiseptic rinse solutions. Octanisept and iodine solutions are recommended. Highly bleeding wounds can additionally be treated with hydrogen peroxide or silver nitrate solution. Finally, abrasions are covered under sterile conditions (for example with plasters, compresses or special wound dressings).

Treatment of cuts

The treatment of cuts is the same as with abrasions. In addition, it must be ruled out in deep cuts that nerves, tendons or larger blood vessels have been injured. These may need to be surgically treated. Large and deep cuts are sometimes sewn or stapled.

Antibiotics against wound infections

Infected wounds or wound infections are usually treated with antibiotics. These can be applied directly to the wound, taken as tablets or juice and given as an infusion into the vein. Antibiotics of choice for wound infections are cefadroxil, cefazolin and vancomycin.


Small cuts and abrasions can be rinsed or rinsed with clear water, but disinfecting rinse solutions (eg iodine solution) are better. Clean wounds are then covered with a plaster. In hard-to-reach or poorly adhering places spray patches are suitable. For sensitive skin, skin-friendly and hypoallergenic patches (for example paper patches) are recommended.

Let dirty wounds bleed. With the blood, foreign bodies and possible pathogens are flushed out of the wound. Do not try to manually remove foreign objects. In case of severe and persistent bleeding you should go to the doctor immediately. Larger grazes should be covered only if possible loose and presented to a doctor.

Connect cuts to pressure

Cuts are covered with a compress that is as sterile as possible.These should be attached with light weight with a gauze bandage or adhesive plaster.

Reduce scarring

After wound closure, you can support the healing phase with creams, ointments, or lotions containing dexpanthenol or chamomile extract. These have a nourishing effect and keep the skin supple. To reduce the formation of strong scars, there are special scar creams and gels. They contain as active ingredients among other urea, allantoin, heparin and Extractum cepae.


Abrasions and cuts can not be prevented 100%. Small injuries occur again and again and can not be prevented. However, occupational safety measures (gloves, work shoes, safety covers) and protective clothing (helmet, protectors) reduce the risk of major skin injuries. Careful and concentrated work in the kitchen and the careful use of cutting tools reduce the risk of cuts. In addition, damaged dishes (especially glasses or cups) should be sorted out to avoid injury.

Watch out for tetanus protection

Tetanus tetanus is a life-threatening and serious disease that can be a complication of abrasions and cuts. You can easily prevent this danger by getting yourself vaccinated against tetanus. The Standing Vaccination Commission of the Robert Koch Institute recommends a tetanus vaccine for people of all ages.

Normally, the primary immunization against tetanus occurs in infancy together with the standard vaccines. A re-vaccination is recommended before school entry (in the 5th to 6th year of age) as well as between the 9th and 17th year of life. Adults should then be vaccinated every 10 years to receive vaccination against tetanus.

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