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Abrasion: How to Care for Your Child

An abrasion is a scrape of the top layer of skin. Most abrasions can be treated at home. They usually heal without leaving a scar.

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  • Wash the abrasion with soap and water every day until healed. Don't use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, as they can irritate the abrasion.

  • After washing, cover the abrasion with a nonstick bandage (such as BAND-AID®, CURAD® or a store brand). After a scab forms, you don't need to keep the abrasion covered.

  • Apply antibacterial ointment (names include triple antibiotic, bacitracin, Neosporin® or Polysporin®) if your health care provider recommended it.

  • If your child has pain and your health care provider says it's OK, you can give one of these medicines:

    • acetaminophen (such as Tylenol® or a store brand)OR

    • ibuprofen (such as Advil®, Motrin® or a store brand)

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  • The area around the abrasion becomes more painful, red, or swollen.

  • The abrasion starts to drain yellow or green fluid.

  • Your child gets a fever.

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How does an abrasion happen? Most abrasions in kids happen when they fall. An abrasion may also happen when someone rubs up against a rough surface.

What does an abrasion look like as it heals? At first, an abrasion can look wet or ooze a little clear fluid. As healing continues, the fluid dries and a scab forms. The scab slowly goes away.

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