A Primer On Road Rash Treatment
One of the reasons bikers wear leathers is to avoid the necessity of having to be faced with a need to undergo road rash treatment. Of course if you hit the pavement at 85 miles an hour, losing a little skin in the process may be the least of your worries. Road rash is a concern however to others besides bikers. Competitive bicycling, mountain biking, and skateboarding are all activities where one runs a risk of hitting the pavement or landing on a gravel or dirt trail, and experiencing a dose of road rash. Runners can fall too, although the extent of the injury seldom extends beyond the heel of the hands and the knees. You can even get a case of road rash when walking your dog if you're heading south and your dog suddenly decides to head east in pursuit of a squirrel. Dog-walkers and runners seldom carry a road rash treatment kit with them however, since they rarely have the need for one. Skate boarders don't either, but they probably should. Those who are at any risk of falling to the pavement or the ground, when moving at any speed faster than a sprint, should at least be aware of what road rash can involve, and more importantly how to go about treating it.
What Road Rash Involves - The term road rash is believed to have been coined by cyclists, and it is simply another term for a skin abrasion. A skin abrasion can be mild, and limited to one or two reasonably small areas (hands and knees), or it can be quite severe, affecting a larger area and being quite deep in places. A mild case of skin abrasion will usually only affect the outer layer of skin and not cause bleeding, while a more severe case may damage the underlying dermis, in which case bleeding is apt to occur. A deeper injury also increases the chances of infection if it is not treated promptly, as well as there being a greater likelihood of scarring.
Whether it is mild or severe, road rash can hurt. It hurts because our skin is fairly rich in nerve endings. Peel back a little skin and there will be plenty of nerve endings that will send messages back to the brain telling it there's been some damage done, and it's supposed to hurt.
Besides screaming in pain and/or anger when the injury first occurs, the first thing you need to do is get a quick estimate as to how serious the road rash is. Can you safely carry on with what you were doing, assuming you'll want to, or is the injury severe enough that treatment needs to be given as soon as possible? If it's a mild abrasion there's likely to be no bleeding. If there is a little bleeding, but not too much, it can be a good thing, since bleeding can help clean out a wound that's a little deep.
Steps For Treating Road Rash - As soon as it's practical to do so, wash the wound with warm water. Cold water, such as that in your water bottle, is a good second choice, but warm water is better if available. Warm or cold, you want to remove as much dirt or other debris from the wounded area as you can, even though the process of doing so will most likely hurt. The next step is that of protection and prevention. You'll want to protect other than the mildest skin abrasion from dirt and germs, and you'll want to prevent both infection and possible scarring if the wound is at all a deep one. Protection and prevention involves antibiotic ointments, healing ointments, and bandages or dressings.
Depending upon the severity of the road rash, you may have to work at keeping the injury clean. Change the dressing often enough so it doesn't stick to the wound. The dressing also needs to be changed any time it becomes dirty. Treating all but the most minor instances of road rash may take anywhere from one week to two or three.
Carry A Road Rash Treatment Kit - A road rash treatment kit can be anything from a commercial First Aid kit, designed for athletes and outdoors types, to a do-it-yourself kit, consisting of ibuprofen, petroleum jelly, an antibiotic ointment, plus gauze, bandages and a roll of medical tape to keep everything in place. Even if none of the items making up the road rash kit are designed to take the pain away, although the ibuprofen can help, the chances are you'll feel much better if you find yourself in a position to actually be able to do something about your injury. There may be something to the saying that we often heal faster when we feel good. It's also a good feeling if you're carrying a kit and are able to help out a companion who has suffered an abrasion.
In summary, most instances of road rash aren't terribly severe, although they will almost always hurt for a time. It's well worthwhile to have a few items on your person or near at hand, so a road rash, should it occur, can be dealt with quickly and effectively.