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Road rash: Knowing when to get medical care

One of the injuries you may need to deal with following a motorcycle accident is road rash. Otherwise known as a friction burn and skin lacerations, road rash rips the skin off the body as it grinds against rough ground surfaces.

Following any motorcycle crash, your first step has to be to assess the overall injury. Significant road rash may bleed profusely, and you need to identify if it primarily injuries to the skin or if the injuries go deeper. For most people, the right choice is to go to the hospital as quickly as possible.

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How do you know if you need medical help?

The primary way is to look for fat, muscle or bone. If you can see any of these things, you need emergency care. Another thing to consider is how long it has been since you had a tetanus shot. The ground is dirty, and with your skin ripped away, your body is exposed to infectious bacteria and viruses.

What should you do if you can't get to a doctor right away?

In a worst-case scenario, you should always carry a first-aid kit for road rash. Carry essentials such as soap and water, lidocaine and bandages. If the skin layer is intact, lidocaine mixed into a liquid solution helps numb the skin so that you can clean it without pain and reduce pain overall.

If you have an injury that needs medical help from a professional but have to wait, numb the injury with the antiseptic wash and then hold gauze over the wound to reduce or stop the bleeding until you can get help.

Source: Adventure Bike Rider, "How to treat road rash after a motorcycle accident," Johnathan Edwards, accessed June 07, 2018

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