Scrapes are the skin wounds that rub or tear off your skin. Learn here how to take care of them.
Scrapes or abrasions happen when your skin is accidentally broken or worn away. They are basically the skin wounds that rub or tear off your skin. Getting scrapes is normal. Or you can say that we all are prone to them while doing physical activities. Some people get scrapes because of the delicate skin due to illness, medication or ageing.
In most cases, scrapes don’t go deeper into the skin. However, some scrapes can strip off several layers of the skin. The affected skin part may bleed or ooze pinkish fluid. Most scrapes are not that critical and can be treated at home with first aid or home remedies.
You are likely to have scrapes on any part of the body, especially at the bony areas like hands, elbows, knees, shins or the hands. Whereas most scrapes are minor, scrapes on the face or head may be aggravated as they bleed a lot due to the excessive blood supply to this area.
In addition to that, scrapes hurt more than cuts as scrapes removes the skin at the larger scale and expose more nerve endings.
The healing of the scrapes is determined by the depth, size and area.
What to Do if You Get a Scrape?
Here are the things you should keep in mind when you get a scrape.
- Apply direct pressure to the hand by elevating the affected organ to stop the bleeding.
- Check if other tissues like blood vessels, nerves, tendons, joints, bones or internal organs have been injured.
- Rush to doctor if the wound is serious
- As a First Aid step, you should clean the wound to remove dirt and debris to minimize the risk of infections. The dirt often looks like a tattoo.
- Determine if you require a tetanus shot.
How to Tell If Your Scrapes Require Medical Assistance?
In some cases, a scrape can be serious, requiring you to get medical assistance. This is why you should assess your scrape carefully to determine the severity of the wound. Here are the signs requiring you to see the doctor.
- Discharge or pus coming from the cut or scrape
- Increased pain
- Redness, swelling, or warmth in the affected area
Generally, your treatment for scrapes includes an antibiotic cream or ointment or oral medicines to stop the infection.
However, you need to take special care if you…
- Have weakened immune systems
- Take medications that make the skin dry and fragile or decrease blood clotting
- Are Suffering from Diabetes
Ask your doctor for special precautions if fall in any high-risk category.
How to Treat Your Minor Scrapes at Home?
Clean the Wound:
First of all, wash your hands with soap and water. Afterwards, rinse the cut or scrape with cool water to clean off dirt and debris. Keep it under running water from the tap or pour clean water over it from a cup. Don’t use stronger cleaning solutions like hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol as it may irritate your wound with burning sensation. Cool clean water is fine for cleaning the scrapes.
Stop the Bleeding:
The next step should be prevention of the bleeding if it occurs. Bleeding from minor wounds will stop on its own. However, in case of head or hand injury, you may experience a lot of bleeding. In this scenario, you need to apply direct pressure on the wound using a clean cloth or gauze. Don’t remove the cloth or gauze to check the wound as it causes wound to start bleeding again. If blood gushes through the dressing, put more clothes or gauze on the top and keep applying pressure.
Remove Stuck In Debris:
If you see any stuck in debris, use tweezers to gently remove them from the wound. See your physician if debris are not coming out. Make sure you don’t push the tweezers deeply into the wound.
To ease the pain, you can take over the counter pain medications like ibuprofen or naproxen. Keep the following tips in mind before taking OTC painkillers:
- Read and follow the instructions given on the pack.
- Don’t take overdose.
- Avoid taking a medicine if you have experienced allergic reaction to it in the past.
- Call your doctor when in doubt.
- If you are pregnant or nursing mother, talk to your doctor before taking a medicine.
- If you have any health condition or taking medication for it, consult your doctor.
- Don’t take aspirin if you are younger than 20 unless your physician recommends you to.
You can also apply topical anesthetic like numbing cream to ease the pain. But make sure it doesn’t enter the bloodstream through the cracks. Or it is better if you apply the cream once the wound dries up.
Apply Antibiotic Cream to the Scrape:
After cleaning your wound, apply some antibiotic cream to protect it from infection. Besides, the cream will keep your scrape moist so it won’t affect by cracking or flaking. Some of the common antibiotic products are Neosprin, Polysoprin and bacitracin.
Cover it with a Gauze or Bandage:
Once you’ve applied antibiotic cream, cover it with a bandage or gauze. It will protect your wound from debris, dust, germs and other particles. If the wound is minor, then a bandage should be fine. Use rolled gauze for wound over a flexible joint.
Change the Dressing:
Make sure to change your dressing two to three times a day or at least every 24 hours. It is not only important from hygienic point of view, but also lets you check the appearance of the wound. You should also change your dressing whenever it gets wet or dirty.
See Your Physician If It looks “Unusual” of Infected:
Some scrapes can catch infection despite your efforts of keeping them clean. Here are the signs that your scrape is infected:
- Redness around the wound or on the edges
- Expansion of wound’s area
- Draining or ooze discharging from the wound
In case of experiencing the symptoms listed above, you should see your physician.