A wound occurs when the skin is broken. A minor wound typically does not need medical treatment; it is one that is small and sufficiently clean so that the edges can be easily approximated using tape.


  • Wash your hands well so that you do not further contaminate the wound.
  • Wash area well with warm soapy water for about 60 seconds or longer, making certain that dirt and foreign bodies are removed. Rinse well with tepid water. Blot dry with a 4 x 4 gauze.
  • Apply a small amount of antibiotic ointment, such as bacitracin, is optional.
  • Cover with a loose bandage that will keep out the dirt, or a Band-Aid. Change the bandage/band-aid whenever it is loose or dirty, and at least one time a day.
  • Check to be sure that you have had a tetanus shot in the past 10 years.

When to see a healthcare provider

  • If you have any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or drainage from the wound, or if you have fever.
  • If you are uncertain when or if your tetanus shot has been more than 10 years ago.
  • The wound is:
    • located on the face
    • penetrating deep into the skin
    • involving other tissues so that you lose sensation, motion, or bleed a lot
    • made by a very dirty object

To make an appointment at Student Health, call 319-335-8394.