Doctor's Orders

What is the Difference between a Cut and a Scratch?

 

A cut or laceration penetrates the skin, which is about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. Cuts that gape with or without movement may need closure to prevent scarring.

 

A scratch or scrape does not break all the way through the top layer of the skin. Following these guidelines if your child has a scratch:

 

  • Scratches and scrapes don’t need stitches or skin glue, no matter how long they are.
  • They generally only need to be cleaned well two or three times a day, covered with antibiotic ointment and kept bandaged until they are dry and closed.
  • We no longer recommend letting wounds dry in the air, as studies show that keeping a moist environment at the site of the cut enhances healing.

 

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