Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How can you prevent an infection on an abrasion?"
Scraped my knee bad skateboarding. Got a bad abrasion. Put alcohol on it at first, but how do I make sure it doesn't get infected?
Sorry to hear that you scraped up your knee so badly! The first step in making sure the abrasion heals up without getting infected is to remove any stray piece of dirt, asphalt, etc that may have gotten lodged in the scrape. You can do this gently with water and soap. After that, I would suggest applying an antibacterial ointment. These ointments have several advantages. First, they are easy to find in your local pharmacy and they do not require a prescription. Second, they have broad activity against the bacteria that potentially might cause an infection. Third, they are thick and greasy, which creates a protective barrier over the scrape, locking in moisture and facilitating growth of new skin. Also be on the look out for any signs of infection. For example, if you notice that the scrape area is becoming warm, or if there is spreading redness or pus, these are all signs of a worsening skin infection, and they should be evaluated as soon as possible by your doctor to determine whether or not you need antibiotics. However, if you don't have any of these concerning symptoms, then you should be fine just with good wound cleansing and with standard antibacterial ointment.