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An abrasion is a scrape on your skin. It occurs when you fall and rub your skin against a rough surface, such as the ground, road, or sidewalk. It may also happen during a car or bike accident or if you slide across carpet with bare skin (rug burn). An abrasion may occur on any part of your body.


Care for your abrasion:

  • Clean and cover your wound:
    • Clean all the debris, such as dirt or rocks, out of the wound. Any debris left in the wound may cause your skin to heal a different color from the rest of your skin.
    • You may need to use a bandage to keep germs out and help your wound heal. Use a large enough bandage to cover the entire wound. Keep the bandage smooth when you cover your wound. Wrinkles in your bandage may cause pain. Use a bandage that does not stick to your wound and has a spongy layer to absorb fluid. Clean your wound and change your bandage every day, or as directed. Also change it when it gets dirty, wet, or soaked in fluid from your wound.
  • Rub antibiotic ointment on your wound: Your primary healthcare provider may tell you to gently rub a topical antibiotic ointment on your wound in between bandage changes. This will help prevent infection and help your wound heal faster. It may also keep the bandage from sticking to your wound. Ask which topical antibiotic ointment to use.
  • Elevate your wound: You may be told to raise your injured body part above your heart. This will help reduce pain and swelling. You can use pillows to raise the injured area.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Take your medicine as directed.

Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • You feel there is something stuck inside your wound, even after it heals.
  • You have questions or concerns about the care of your abrasion.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have painful swelling, redness, or warmth around your wound.
  • You have pus leaking from your wound, or you have red streaks on your skin.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.