The small hazards of everyday life may sometimes lead to abrasions, which include minor scrapes and cuts on the outer surface of the skin. Medical attention is typically required for deeper cuts and wounds, but even in case of ordinary abrasions, it is important to take care and treat them properly. Ignoring minor abrasions can lead to complications requiring more serious treatment later on.
Treatment for a minor abrasion begins with cleaning the affected area. First the affected area should be rinsed with clean water to remove debris and dirt, and soap may be used to clean the wound thoroughly. Stronger cleansing agents such as iodine, hydrogen peroxide or alcohol may not be necessary for minor wounds.
If the abrasion is minor, the bleeding will stop on its own. However, if the cut is in such an area where bleeding is more, the patient can apply direct pressure on the affected skin using a gauze or a clean cloth. This should stop the bleeding after a while as the pressure is sustained. In a situation where bleeding does not stop with these measures, medical attention must be sought immediately.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Most minor abrasions do not require the attention of a professional healthcare provider. However, a doctor’s care should be sought in the following situations:
The abrasion is on the face.
The abrasion’s edges are jagged.
The cut is deeper than a quarter of an inch.
The muscle or fat is visible from the abrasion.
The debris from the wound cannot be removed.
The patient has not had a tetanus shot in five years.
The abrasion is due to a human or animal bite.
There is loss of movement or loss of sensation in the affected area.
Risk of Infection
After the initial treatment for the abrasion, it is important to look out for any potential signs of infection during the recovery period. If any of the following signs are noticed, a doctor must be consulted urgently:
• Pain does not subside.
• Swelling, warmth, and redness persist.
• There is drainage from the wound.
• Red streaks appear around the abrasion.
• Patient experiences fever over 100˚ F.
The abrasion will begin to heal as a scab forms over the affected area. The scab helps protect the wound against infection, while new skin appears underneath.