Abrasions | OSF HealthCare
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Neuroscience

Abrasions

What is an abrasion?

An abrasion is a superficial rub or wearing off of the skin, usually caused by a scrape or a brush burn. Abrasions are usually minor injuries that can be treated at home. The skin may bleed or drain small amounts at the time of the injury or at times over the next few days if rubbed or scratched. 

First aid for abrasions

  • Calm your child and let them know you can help.

  • Wash your hands well.

  • Wash the abraded area well with soap and water, but don't scrub the wound. Remove any dirt particles from the area and let the water from the faucet run over it for several minutes. A dirty abrasion that isn't well cleaned can cause scarring or infection

  • Apply an antiseptic lotion, cream, or petroleum jelly.

  • Cover the area with an adhesive bandage or gauze pad if the area is on the hands or feet, or if it is likely to drain onto clothing. Change the dressing often.

  • Check the area each day and keep it clean and dry.

  • Don't blow on the abrasion. This can cause germs from your mouth to grow.

When should I call my child's healthcare provider?

Specific treatment for skin wounds will be determined by your child's healthcare provider. In general, call your child's provider for abrasions that:

  • Are located close to the eye or on the face.

  • Are embedded with debris, such as dirt, stones, or gravel.

  • Show signs of infection, such as fever, increased warmth, redness, swelling, or drainage.

  • Cover a large area of the body, such as the chest, back, or an entire arm or leg.

  • Bleed significantly after applying pressure for 5 minutes.

Online Medical Reviewer: Eric Perez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals RN BSN MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Paula Goode RN BSN MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2022
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