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What is an abrasion?

An abrasion is a kind of skin injury where the upper layer (the epidermis) is torn off. This is a minor wound and can be treated at home without needing a visit to the doctor and usually heals within a few days only. The wound may contain dirt and other particles which may lead to infection if not cleaned. Abrasions commonly occur to those who are constantly moving or those who are playing sports as they may get this injury from falling, skidding or any other kind of accident. Abrasions typically occur on the arms and legs as they are the most exposed parts of the skin.

Signs and symptoms of an abrasion:

  • A tear or peeling of the skin.
  • Pain coming from the spot of the injury because the nerve endings are exposed.
  • Minor bleeding coming from the spot of the injury.

Treatment for an abrasion:

abrasion

Clean the injured area with clean water and mild soap to remove any dirt that may cause infection. Rub the soap gently to prevent any more damage to the skin.

  • Clean the injured area with clean water and mild soap to remove any dirt that may cause infection. Rub the soap gently to prevent any more damage to the skin.
  • Cover the area with an antibiotic ointment and/or a clean bandage or dressing.
  • While abrasions can be annoying and painful but can be easily treated without difficulty, it is better to prevent it from happening so that it won’t cause you any trouble. Common ways to prevent abrasions from happening include:
  • Wearing protection such as gloves, clothing that covers most of your body such as long sleeves and pants, or additional layers of clothing.
  • Wearing safety gear such as helmets, goggles, or protective pads for the arms and legs.
  • Ensuring that your surroundings are safe and free of potential hazards that may cause accidents.

Most abrasion wounds heal within a week or so if the symptoms worsen however it is a sign of an infection and it is time to see a doctor.

See a doctor immediately if:

  • The wound doesn’t heal after a week, even with proper care.
  • Increase in pain.
  • Discharge of pus coming from the wound.
  • You develop a fever.
  • The abrasion affects a large area of your body.
  • Numbness in the area affected by the abrasion.
  • The abrasion is near your eye.
  • The injury was caused by a human or animal bite.
  • The injury was caused by a dirty or rusty object.

More Information

The details posted on this page on an abrasion is for learning purposes only. To learn to properly care for this type of wound, enroll in a first aid course with one of our training providers.

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