Abrasions (or grazes) are superficial wounds, where generally, only the outermost layer of the skin (the epidermis) is rubbed away. Sometimes abrasions go deeper into the skin layers (dermis).
Usually, they do not bleed very much if they are superficial, but deeper abrasions may bleed more. Abrasions on the face or head tend to bleed a lot as the blood supply is very rich here. In most cases, they will only produce a clear or pinkish fluid, which is normal. Superficial abrasions tend to be more painful than deeper ones as the nerve endings are exposed.
They are common in children and sports players, who fall and then slide along the ground. As a result, they often have dirt or grass in them. An abrasion is sometimes called ‘road rash’.
Because they often have dirt embedded in them, abrasions are prone to infection, therefore you should keep the wound clean to avoid infection and minimise pain.
Signs of infection include:
- An increase or a change in pain
- Increased redness
- An increase in the amount and colour of exudate (fluid) from the wound
- Odour from the wound
- A high temperature
If you or your child sustains an abrasion, you should check whether or not you (or your child) has tetanus cover.