Skin abrasions involve damage to the upper skin layer or epidermis. These occur if the skin is chafed away due to friction against rough surfaces such as concrete or wood. Most cases occur in the knees, elbows and shoulders since they are the ones likely to strike the ground during falls.
Steps in caring for skin abrasions
Press a towel or cloth on the abrasion to control any bleeding. The bleeding from skin abrasions are minimal and applying firm pressure for about 5 minutes is enough to stop it. If possible, lift the body part with the wound that is bleeding above the level of the heart.
The wound should be flushed with warm water to get rid of any debris, sand or dirt. The abrasion might initially sting upon contact with water. Once the wound is clear from any foreign debris, gently wash it with water and mild soap.
Use an anesthetic spray on the wound and surrounding skin to minimize the pain as well as ensure a tolerable cleaning process.
Get rid of any splinters or embedded particles using tweezers. If any debris or dirt is left within skin abrasions, it increases the risk for infection and scarring. Before using the tweezers, clean by pouring rubbing alcohol over it.
Put on an antibiotic ointment on the abrasion to minimize the risk for infection. It also provides lubrication to the wound so that the dressings will not stick to it. Cover the wound using a non-adhesive, sterile gauze pad.
Change the bandage once it becomes soiled, wet, soaked with blood or before going to sleep. If the bleeding continues for more than 24 hours, it might be an indication of a serious injury that necessitates medical care.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on skin abrasions is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage skin abrasions with proper wound care by taking a standard first aid course with Victoria First Aid.