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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Nov 5, 2023.

What is an abrasion?

An abrasion is a wound on your skin. Abrasions usually happen when your skin rubs against a rough surface. Examples of an abrasion include rug burn, a skinned elbow, or road rash. Abrasions can be deep or shallow The wound may hurt, bleed, bruise, or swell.

How can I care for my abrasion?

  • Wash your hands and dry them with a clean towel first.
  • Press a clean cloth against your wound for 5 to 10 minutes to stop any bleeding.
  • Rinse your wound with clean water. Do not use harsh soap, alcohol, or iodine solutions.
  • Use a clean, wet cloth to remove any objects, such as small pieces of rocks or dirt.
  • Rub antibiotic ointment on your wound. This may help prevent infection and help your wound heal.
  • Cover the wound with a non-stick bandage. Change the bandage daily, and if it gets wet or dirty.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • The bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes of firm pressure.
  • The redness around your wound begins to spread.
  • You cannot rinse one or more foreign objects out of your wound.

When should I call my doctor?

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • Your abrasion is red, warm, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.