cuts/abrasions

 

What is an abrasion and what causes it?Image of a cut

An abrasion, or scrape, is a shallow wound characterized by a tearing or wearing of the top layer of skin.  A cut is a wound in which the skin is sliced by a sharp edge.  Abrasions and cuts often occur because of an accidents in which the skin is scarped against a rough surface (abrasion), or the skin in sliced by a sharp edge (cut).

 

how should i clean wound?

The best way to clean a cut or abrasion (scrape) is with cool water.  Use soap and a soft wash cloth to clean the skin around the wound.  Do not use a stronger cleaning solution such as hydrogen peroxide as they may irritate the wound.

 

what about bleeding?

Bleeding helps clean out wounds.  Most small cuts or scrapes will stop bleeding in a short time. Wounds on the face, head or mouth will sometimes bleed a lot because theses areas are right in blood vessels.  To stop the bleeding, apply firm but gently pressure on the cut with a clean cloth, tissue, or gauze pad.  If you wound is on an arm or leg, raising it above your heart will also help slow the bleeding.

 

How is it treated?

Cuts and abrasions may initially be cleaned by your health care provider.  He/she will then determine if stitches are needed.  Small cuts may be closed with a special tape called butterfly tape, or special adhesive strips, such as steri-strips.  Antibiotic ointments, such as Bacitracin help healing by keeping out infection and by keeping the wound clean and moist.  Most minor cuts and scrapes will heal just fine without antibiotic ointment, but it can speed healing and reduce scarring.  Your provider may eave the wound uncovered or may cover it with a bandage.  Leaving the wound uncovered helps it stay dry and helps it heal.  If the wound isn't in an area that will get dirty or be rubbed by clothing, you don't have to cover it.  If it is in an area that will get dirty or irritated by clothing, it will be covered with a band-aid or with sterile gauze and adhesive tape.  The bandage should be changed each day to keep the wound clean and dry.

 

What should I do about scabs?

Nothing.  Scabs are the body's way of bandaging itself.  They form to protect wounds from dirt.  It is best to leave them alone and not pick at them.  they will fall off by themselves when the time is right.

 

wounds with increased risk of infection or problems:

 

reasons to call the health center:

  1. If the wound become increasingly painful
  2. If there is a significant discharge
  3. If there is spreading of redness around the wound or a red streak developing from the wound in the direction of the heart
  4. If you start to run a temperature greater than 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit
  5. If the area around the wound feels numb
  6. If the area around the wound becomes increasingly inflamed