WOUND & SKIN CARE: Abrasion care in healthy young adults
Zulma Chardon BS, RN, WCN, CWS

May 2011 
Volume 41  Number 5
Pages 68 - 69
  PDF Version Available!

ACTIVE YOUNG ADULTS take risks when they zip around on scooters, skateboards, bicycles, or roller blades. Resulting falls often cause abrasions. This article reviews a simple and effective way to care for partial-thickness abrasions.Partial-thickness wounds occur when the entire epidermis and top layer of the dermis are damaged. These wounds are shallow, pinkish/red, painful, and highly exudative.1 When you first assess a patient with a partial-thickness abrasion, make sure the patient has no other potentially serious injuries from the abrasion-producing event besides the abrasion itself and include these questions. * When (date and time) did the injury occur? * How did you get the injury? * What's your pain level on a scale of 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain imaginable)? * Do you have any allergies, including medication, tape, or latex? * Have you injured yourself in the same area before? * Were you wearing a helmet or other protective gear? * When did you receive your last tetanus vaccine? (If it's been more than 5 years, the patient will need tetanus prophylaxis.) * Have you tried to treat the abrasion yourself? If so, what did you do?After you've obtained a targeted history, clean the abrasion. The abrasion can be cleaned at the beside, but a timesaving, cost-effective way to remove surface debris from multiple abrasions is by showering or using a faucet with a shower attachment to clean a small area. Provide your patient with chlorhexidine solution or a chlorhexidine scrub brush for self-cleaning.2 Chlorhexidine is a good choice because community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is common among people in this age group, who have a tendency to share personal items such as towels and athletic equipment.2 Advise the patient to avoid getting chlorhexidine in the eyes. Make sure the shower is disinfected after each patient. Random culture specimens taken from the shower stall should be negative.After the shower and before applying a dressing, assess

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