Care of Road Rash and Abrasions
This handout was written to help you care
for your road rash and abrasions at home. If
you have questions or concerns after you get
home, please feel free to call the phone
numbers listed at the end of this handout.
Abrasions are a superficial injury to the
skin and its underlying tissue caused by
rubbing or scraping. Road rash is a
common term used for abrasions caused by
scrapes received during an accident. Road
rash should heal within 2 weeks if you take
good care of the wounds and keep them
clean and moist. Sometimes, road rash can
go through all of the layers of skin and
require skin grafting surgery to heal. If your
wounds take longer than 2 weeks to heal,
they may be deeper wounds and should be
re-evaluated by your health care provider.
Daily Wound Cares
1. Wash your hands with soap and
water before touching your wound.
2. Remove old dressings. Do not soak
in water to remove. Dry dressing
removal cleans away dead tissue and
3. Wash your wounds gently once a day
with antibacterial soap such as Dial
and a clean washcloth. Wash off
antibiotic creams, soft scabs, and any
loose dead tissue. You may have a
small amount of bleeding. Most
patients should wash their wounds
during their daily showers.
4. Rinse your wounds well with plain
5. Dry off surrounding skin thoroughly
with a towel.
6. Apply a thin layer of Bacitracin to
all open wounds. If your wound has
been drying out between dressing
changes, you may want to apply a
thicker layer of Bacitracin at this
7. Apply a thin layer of moisturizing
lotion to all healed areas of skin that
surround the open wound.
8. Apply Cutecerin (non-stick) gauze to
all open wounds.
9. Secure dressings with cotton gauze
Signs of Infection
ξ Increasing redness and swelling
around the wound
ξ Foul smelling drainage or pus from
ξ Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills,
nausea or vomiting, and muscle
Your doctor may have prescribed pain
medicines for treating pain.
(your pain reliever) 1 hour before
washing your wounds.
2. Between wound cares use
acetaminophen (Tylenol ) or
ibuprofen (Advil ) to treat pain. If
you have any broken bones, or are
having surgery in less than a week
do not take ibuprofen.
Pain will lessen as the wound heals. The
wound may feel stiff, dry, itchy, or tight as it
heals. Moisturizing lotion on the healed
skin can provide great relief for these
Care of Healed Skin
The skin is healed when it appears dull pink
or red, is not moist or weepy, and no longer
stings when you touch it. Newly healed skin
needs moisturizing creams to prevent drying
and cracking. Once your wound is healed,
stop using the Bacitracin , Cutecerin gauze
and gauze dressings. Apply creams (free of
alcohol) such as Elta lite , Aquaphor,
Eucerin , Nivea as often as needed to keep
the skin moist and soft.
In case you have any questions or concerns,
or if your wounds do not heal in 2-3 weeks,
please contact your health care provider.
Your Primary MD
Trauma Clinic at 608-263-7502
Burn Clinic at 608-263-1490
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©9/2017. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF6820