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Some pink and blue plasters on a wooden background next to a first aid box.
Your hands and knees are almost sure to bear the scars of life. Your mum and dad used to kiss them better, but now you have to be in charge of all the gooey bits and the cuts may happen in places you can’t kiss better yourself. So if you cut yourself, the things to do are clean the wound, and stop any bleeding.

Clean the wound

The first thing to do is to get any obvious dirt out by washing the wound under running cold water. Your skin stops germs getting in (and the rest of your body from falling out!) so if you cut it, germs (bacteria) can get in. Carefully clean the area around the wound with something clean (sterile swabs are best, but you may have to make do with a clean hanky or tissues). If there is glass, metal or gravel in the wound, you’ll need to have a doctor or nurse look at it and see if further stuff needs removing.

Stop any bleeding

The next thing is to stop any bleeding by putting pressure on the wound, again using something clean. If the wound is a large one, it may gape open, and the bleeding may start again as soon as you stop applying pressure. You can get a special little plaster to try and bring the edges of the wound together, but you may need stitches from a doctor or nurse. If in doubt find a nurse or doctor at your family practice, or if it’s really bad – head for your local accident and emergency department.