In general, the term refers to the wearing away of a substance by grinding or rubbing. In medicine, abrasion usually refers to an injury to the skin or the mucous membranes through rubbing or scraping. The wound may show some bleeding or oozing of colorless serum. Thorough cleansing with soap and water to remove any embedded foreign material such as dirt or gravel is essential. Otherwise, there may be a permanent, disfiguring tattooing of the skin. If the injury is deep, and cleaning it is very painful, a doctor should be consulted. He may decide to control the pain by administering a pain-relieving drug, or by applying an anesthetic to the injured area, or by injecting an anesthetic into the nerve controlling the area.
If the doctor finds he cannot remove all the dirt or damaged tissue with these methods without causing great pain, he may decide to hospitalize the patient and perform the cleaning under general anesthesia. If the abrasion is deep or covers a wide area, it should be covered by petroleum jelly (vaseline) and a sterile gauze bandage. The new non-sticking dressings are very useful here.