An abrasion or graze or scrape is basically a wound on the superficial layer on the skin. Take note that abrasions are usually due to trauma such as falls in which the surface of the skin was grinded or scraped away. Since the skin is responsible for protecting the body against entry of bacteria as well as other microorganisms, an abrasion will expose the deep structures of the skin to potential infection.
There are various measures that can be done in order to minimize the potential for an infection if an individual sustained an abrasion. An initial measure is to cover the wound. Once an abrasion is properly protected using a bandage, the risk for infection is reduced, thus allowing the wound to heal at a faster rate. If you want to learn how to provide proper wound care, click here.
Evaluation of the abrasion and bleeding
Once an individual sustains an abrasion, it is vital to assess the wound. Abrasions are shallow but it depends on the ordeal that caused it because the skin can also endure a laceration which is deeper and requires stitches for proper healing.
The bleeding linked with abrasions is usually minimal and quickly controlled. In case the abrasion continues to bleed and does not stop on its own, you have to apply gentle pressure using a non-stick gauze or bandage for 20-30 minutes. It is advised not to check continuously if the bleeding has stopped since it might only dislodge a freshly formed clot.
Cleansing the wound
Any trauma on the skin can introduce dirt and debris while causing an abrasion. Take note that dirt and debris also carries microorganisms, thus a dirty wound drastically increases the risk for infection while at the same time delaying the wound healing process.
The ideal way to clean the wound is to pour warm water over it. With a washcloth and soap, clean the area surrounding the wound but not the wound itself since the soap can irritate it. In case there are debris and dirt in the wound that do not come out, use clean tweezers to remove them. Once the wound is properly cleansed, apply a minimal coating of topical antibiotic ointment before it is covered with clean bandage.
How to cover the abrasion
Always bear in mind that the wound healing process starts once the blood clots, eventually resulting to a scab. Beneath the scab formation, the skin cells and blood vessels start to reconstruct the injured tissue. It is vital that this process is not disrupted to achieve optimal wound healing. This is why covering the wound can help in preventing any disturbance on the healing process.
This will also enhance new formation of skin. Moisture is also maintained to enhance the healing process and minimize the pain and scarring later on. Additionally, covering the wound can also prevent it from being exposed to dirt, thus reducing the risk for infection.
What are the indications of infection?
By covering an abrasion, it helps hasten the wound healing process but infection can delay the process. You have to carefully monitor for signs of infection such as swelling, redness, drainage of blood and persistent pain. If any of these are present, it is vital to seek medical as soon as possible.