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What is road rash?

Motorcycle crashes are sometimes caused by negligent motorists. These accidents may result when motorists engage in distracted driving behaviors or fail to yield when motorcyclists have right-of-way. When such collisions occur, motorcyclists may suffer a variety of injuries, including road rash.  

A definition of road rash is offered by UWHealth.org, which is run by the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. According to UW Health, road rash injuries are abrasions which result from an accident. Superficial road rash usually heals in two weeks or less, as long as the wounds are kept clean. In some cases, the abrasions will penetrate through all layers of skin. When this occurs, skin grafting may be required in order for the wound to heal.

Caring for a road rash injury may be an involved process. UW Health advises that patients wash and dress these wounds on a daily basis. The area must remain clean and free of bacteria in order to heal properly.

Road rash may produce substantial pain in accident victims. Depending on the situation, a prescription pain reliever may be prescribed by a physician. UW Health recommends that pain medication be taken approximately one hour prior to tending to wounds. Additional pain treatments may also be used in between wound dressings.  

If road rash does not heal within the expected time, UW Health recommends that patients visit their physicians. The wounds may be deeper than initially suspected and may need to be reevaluated by a medical professional.  

Infection is a serious concern for road rash patients. Signs of infection, such as increased swelling, flu-like symptoms or foul-smelling pus should be reported to physicians. 

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