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Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0

Scrapes (Abrasions) (for Teenagers)


An abrasion is an area of skin that has been scraped during a fall (for example, a floor burn or skinned knee).


  1. Cleaning the scrape

    First, wash your hands. Then wash the wound vigorously for at least 5 minutes with warm water and liquid soap. The area will probably need to be scrubbed several times with a wet gauze to get all the dirt out. You may have to remove some dirt particles (for example, gravel) with a tweezers. If there is tar in the wound, it can often be removed by rubbing it with petroleum jelly, followed by soap and water again. Liquid soap cuts grease better than bar soap. Pieces of loose skin should be cut off with sterile scissors, especially if the pieces of skin are dirty. Rinse the wound well.

  2. Antibiotic ointments and dressing

    Apply an antibiotic ointment and cover the scrape with a Band-Aid or gauze dressing. This is especially important for scrapes over joints (such as the elbow, knee, or hand) that are always being stretched. Cracking and reopening at these sites can be prevented with an antibiotic ointment, which keeps the crust soft. Use bacitracin or Betadine ointment. Cleanse the area once a day with warm water and then reapply the ointment and dressing until the scrape is healed.

  3. Pain relief

    Because abrasions can hurt badly, take acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed.


  • There is any dirt or grime in the wound that you can't get out.
  • A large area of skin has been scraped off.


  • You haven't had a tetanus booster in over 10 years.
  • The scrape looks infected (red streaks, draining pus, etc.).
  • The scrape doesn't heal in 2 weeks.
  • You have other questions or concerns.

Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems