Know when to treat an abrasion yourself—and when to get medical help

You fell in the driveway and scraped your elbow or a child skinned a knee climbing a tree. Most abrasions we get from everyday life are not serious and are easily treatable at home.

However, there are some things you should ask yourself to see if the abrasion requires medical attention:

  • Is it deep?
  • Is it spurting blood?
  • Did it come from something dirty or rusty?
  • Did it come from a human or animal bite?
  • Is something embedded in it that you’re unable to get out?
  • Is the blood still flowing heavily after you’ve applied pressure?

If any of these situations apply, there may be greater cause for concern and you should seek medical help immediately.

Know the signs of infection that require medical attention

If you’ve treated your abrasion, but it’s not healing well, you may have an infection. Infected skin may require medical attention and could lead to more serious health problems.

Here are some possible signs of infection:

  • Fever
  • Increased pain
  • Numbness around the wound
  • Pus or drainage from the wound
  • Redness, swelling, warmth around the wound
  • Read streaks around the wound

These are reasons for concern and you should get a medical professional to assess your condition.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.