Google+ Authentic Parenting: Healing Scrapes and Abrasions Naturally

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Healing Scrapes and Abrasions Naturally

Image source: Bombardier
I've had to deal with a lot of scrape wounds lately. First, my daughter and I got swept away and thrown onto some rocks when we were out at the beach and a couple weeks later I had a quad biking accident. The positive side was that I was forced to rest after the latter and got to learn a lot about treating scrapes and abrasions naturally.

Assesing the situation: What is an abrasion?

Abrasions are a surface wound of the skin. Abrasions are never deeper than the epidermis, and there is little bleeding. Minor abrasions, where no bleeding is present are called grazes or scrapes. Abrasions are also known as road rash, as they are often caused by falling/sliding over a hard surface like rock or road. More severe abrasions, where layers of skin are removed are called avulsion - here the tissue is torn to expose subcutaneous tissue or even muscle or tendons. Always consult a doctor when the latter occurs.

Step 1: first aid

As scrapewound often happen when you're out and about, so you will have to make do with what you have. Scrape wounds and abrasions aren't very serious, but they have to be taken care of meticulously to avoid infection and they're also very painful. Always have a first aid kit handy, especially if you have kids.
  1. First and foremost when you encounter scrapes in a first aid situation is to clean them. Cleaning can be done with plain water, or calendula infusion, or coconut oil, whatever you have available on the spot. Clean thoroughly.
  2. Disinfect. If you're using coconut oil or calendula, they're already disinfectant. Other natural disinfectants: oregano oil, tea tree essential oil (can be a bit stingy though), lavender essential oil, comfrey root, yarrow. Or maybe you've packed a special would balm which can be applied as a shield to avoid dirt getting stuck in the wound.
  3. If possible, cover the wound with bandages or sterile gauze. Make sure the wound is moist enough so the bandages won't stick. This is only necessary if the wound is deep or on a larger surface. Small scrapes can dry to the air.
If the scrapes are minor, you can just go about your day. If the abrasions cover a larger area of the body, are combined with bruises, or very hurtful, move the patient to somewhere you can further take care of him.

Step 2: Serious abrasions

If you are dealing with serious abrasions, abrasions that cover large areas of the body or severe pain, consider moving the patient to a better care situation (somewhere you have access to a full medical kit).
  1. If necessary, give your patient something for the pain. Passion flower infusion is a safe and gentle pain remedy that's also safe for children.  
  2. Clean the wound again and remove all debris. To easily remove small pieces of dirt, soak the wound, either in water or oil, softly wipe the surface with sterile gauze and remove all remaining particles with tweezers.
  3. Disinfect and cover with non adhesive gauze and bandages or tape. 
  4. Contrary to common belief, wounds heal quicker and with less scarring when kept moist, so repeat this procedure as often as necessary (2-3 times a day) until the wound is healed. The drying of the wound and creation of crusts interferes with the healing process!

Step 3: additional care
  • If there are bruises, consider applying arnica cream where the skin isn't broken. If the bruises are under the scrapes, you can take arnica pills to speed the healing of the bruise.
  • For boosting the healing of the skin, drink red clover infusion.

When to see a doctor

  • When skin is removed to expose subcutaneous tissue or muscle tissue
  • When there is profuse bleeding
  • When the patient is not responsive
  • When you don't feel apt to take care of the wounds
I'm always interested in learning new natural health methods: how do you treat first aid situations? What do you use for pain relief?



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