An abrasion which is also called as a graze or scrape is described as a wound on the superficial layer of the skin. Abrasions are typically due to trauma such as a fall that scrapes away the skin surface. Since the skin is responsible for protecting the body from bacteria, an abrasion can expose the deeper skin structures to potential infection.
There are various tactics that can be utilized to minimize the possibility of infection in an abrasion. One measure is to cover the wound. Once the abrasion is protected using a bandage, the risk for infection is reduced, thus allowing the wound to heal at a rapid rate.
Assessment of the wound and bleeding
Once the abrasion occurs, it is vital to carefully assess the wound. Always bear in mind that abrasions are superficial but depending on the severity it causes, the skin can also suffer a laceration which is a deeper cut that might require stitches to allow proper healing.
The bleeding linked with scrapes or abrasions is usually minor and can be easily controlled. In case the abrasion does not stop bleeding on its own, you can apply gentle pressure using a bandage or non-stick gauze for about 20-30 minutes. It is recommended not to check on the abrasion continuously whether the bleeding has stopped since this will only dislodge the newly formed clot.
Cleansing the wound
The trauma on the skin can bring in dirt while causing an abrasion. The dirt holds various microbes, thus an unclean wound significantly heightens the possibility for infection and delay the healing process of the wound. The ideal way to cleanse a wound is to run warm water over it.
You can use a soap and washcloth to cleanse around the area of the wound, but not the wound itself since soap can irritate the wound. In case there are dirt particles present in the wound that could not be removed by running water, utilize clean tweezers to take them out. Once the affected area is properly cleansed, you can place a small coating of antibiotic ointment before it is covered with a fresh bandage.
Covering the wound
The wound healing starts once the blood clot where a scab eventually forms. Below the scab, the skin cells and blood vessels start to reconstruct the damaged tissue. It is vital that nothing disturbs this phase to attain correct healing of the wound.
Wrapping the wound helps prevent disruption of the healing process. This enhances the formation of new skin. Covering a wound helps maintain moisture, enhance the healing process and minimizing pain and scarring. In addition, covering the wound also prevents it from getting contaminated as well as reducing the risk for infection.
What are the signs and symptoms of infection?
Covering a wound helps speed up the healing process but the infection can delay the process. Understandably, it is vital to monitor for the signs and symptoms of infection. If there is swelling, redness, continuous or uncontrolled drainage of blood as well as increasing drainage and continuous pain, a doctor should be consulted. If any of these signs develop, seek medical care as soon as possible.