There are many ways to treat a scrape, some better than others, so it pays to understand how to best care for this type of injury. Your skin is your body’s biggest organ so you definitely want to make sure it stays healthy and glowing your whole life through. Abrasions are an inevitable occurrence and chances are you’ll get your fair share as you go through life. But proper care afterward can help minimize scarring and leave you with gorgeous skin regardless. Here are some of the best ways to treat a scrape. I hope they help you next time you get hurt.
1. Stop Bleeding
If you wind up with a scrape that is bleeding, you need to stop the flow before washing the wound. Press a clean cloth or gauze pad against the injury, applying gentle pressure for 20 to 30 minutes, as suggested by the Mayo Clinic. Try not to check on the wound because you can rupture the clot that’s beginning to form. If, after the recommended time, the blood hasn’t stopped, head to the emergency room. This is perhaps the most important of the ways to treat a scrape.
2. Clean It
One of the most important ways to treat a scrape is to clean it right away. The experts at WebMD recommend using cool water to remove any debris or grime that winds up on the scrape. You can either hold the scrape under the faucet or pour water from a cup or other container over it. Be sure to use a little soap and rinse well to kill germs and bacteria lurking on the scrape.
3. Avoid over the Counter Cleaners
It might be tempting to douse your scrape in peroxide or iodine, but new information from health experts say this can irritate the injury and even make it worse. Good old soap and water is best. However, if you’re in a pinch and don’t have any water, it’s better to clean the wound with one of these items than to leave it because then you run the risk of an infection.
4. Apply Antibiotic Cream
The Mayo Clinic recommends applying a thin layer of an over the counter antibiotic cream to your scrape. This works to keep it protected, but also kills off any germs and bacteria on the wound. Use your finger or a cotton swab to do this. Make sure you completely cover the injury, but you don’t have to use a huge glob because that can keep a bandage from sticking to the area.
5. Cover It up
Now, you’re going to want to keep your scrape covered for a day or two. This helps speed the healing process and keeps harmful ickies from leading to an infection. Depending on the size of your scrape, you can use an adhesive bandage or a gauze pad. Change the covering a couple of times per day so that you can be sure it’s clean and sterile.
6. Keep an Eye on It
The Mayo Clinic recommends watching your scrape for signs of infection. While it’s not super common, it can happen and you’ll want to have the issue treated right away. Stay on the lookout for redness, pain that gets worse, drainage, warmth in the area or swelling around the wound. If you notice any of these symptoms, head to the doctor right away.
7. Get a Tetanus Shot
No matter how minor an injury seems to you, medical experts recommend getting a tetanus shot if it’s been more than five years since your last booster. This is especially important if your wound is deep or very dirty. You can make a last minute appointment with your physician or head to the emergency room.
What’s the worst scrape you’ve ever gotten? When I was about 13, I feel down a mountain (it was pretty small), but I still scraped most of the skin off my shin bones. It wasn’t pretty, but proper treatment left me without any scars from the incident.
Did you learn anything new about first aid?