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Abrasions (or gazes) 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).

Bicycle breaking in sand

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, sports players, and bike riders 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’.

If you or your child sustains an abrasion, you should check whether or not you (or your child) has tetanus immunity through an immunization that is less than 10 years old per the CDC.

Consulting a healthcare provider

If the wound gets worse or persists or if there are signs of infection such as redness, swelling, fever, pain or burning, increased drainage, becomes warm to the touch, then consult a health care provider.

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