Every cyclist or skateboarder should know how to treat road rash. At some point during your fun, you risk the chance of a spill and getting road rash. Road rash refers to a shallow scrape or abrasion caused by skin being dragged against concrete or pavement at a fairly fast speed. Although there is typically not a lot of bleeding with this type of injury, it can be quite painful to the victim due to the exposed nerve endings. In order to minimize the risk of infection, it is important to know how to treat road rash.
- Examine the wound. The first thing you want to do is examine the wound for seriousness. If there is a gaping wound and moderate to severe bleeding, it is wise to seek medical attention in case stitches are necessary. Further, if there was glass or debris where you fell, you may need a physician to remove those particles. Lastly, if you are not up-to-date on your tetanus shot, you may need to get a booster shot.
- Clean the wound. If the wound is mild and you do not feel it needs medical attention, then cleaning the wound is the first step in knowing how to treat road rash. Remember, there was probably dirt and gravel where the fall occurred, so proper cleaning of the abrasion is critical to prevent infection. Use an antibacterial soap to clean the wound. You can use a sterile sponge or clean washcloth, but don't scrub too hard. It is a good idea to take a shower as well. The running water from the shower will help to remove any remaining dirt particles.
- Cover the wound. Ideally, you should apply a telfa non-stick pad that contains Neosporin or Bactrin to cover the wound. The dressing should be changed daily until you can see that new skin has grown to cover the wound. Alternatively, you can use a second skin dressing to promote wound healing.
Watch for infection. Infections are a concern with road rash abrasions. Examine the wound daily for any signs of infection in order to continue to treat road rash. Redness, pus, foul smell or fever can be an indication of an infection. If you see signs of an infection, seek immediate medical care.
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