What is the best way to clean an abrasion and avoid infection?

Abrasions are wounds that are caused by skin being rubbed or scraped off. While most abrasions are shallow, others may reach deep into the skin, exposing flesh beneath and causing extensive bleeding. Scrapes as a rule, do not cause much bleeding but they may result in a pinkish fluid oozing out from the wound.

Abrasions are more common in warm weather when skin is more exposed. They can be caused by an accidental fall but may also occur whenever the skin is rubbed hard or scraped against a hard surface such as a wall, the ground, a sidewalk or a road. Abrasions are most common amongst children, often the result of play or some strenuous activity such as a sporting one. The regions that are most prone to an abrasion are the bony areas such as the shins or the forearms.

Abrasions are usually more painful than cuts since there is a larger area of skin that has been damaged and more nerve endings have been exposed. Since an abrasion is a wound that exposes internal tissue, there is a risk of infection setting in. Proper care for a wound of this type will lessen the risk of this occurring.

The first step in treating an abrasion is to stop the bleeding. Milder abrasions may not bleed or will stop bleeding or oozing fluid on their own. If the abrasion continues to bleed, apply pressure on the wound using a clean cloth or a bandage. The pressure should be maintained for about 10 to 30 minutes. If the bleeding has not stopped by then, continue to apply pressure until it does.

Most often the bleeding will stop after about 10 to 30 minutes. If it doesn’t stop even after continuously applying pressure or if the bleeding occurs in spurts, you should seek immediate medical help but continue to maintain the pressure.
Constantly checking to see whether the wound has stopped bleeding is inadvisable as it may dislodge and blood clot that may have already formed.

Your next step is to clean the wound. Rinse it out with cold water. Keeping the affected area under running water is usually enough to do the trick. Avoid using soap as it may further irritate the wound. If some debris remain even after the most persistent washing, use a pair of sterile tweezers to remove whatever bits you can.

Apply an antibiotic ointment to the affected area and cover the wound using a sterile bandage.

answered by M W

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