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If my friend has been in a motorcycle accident, what can I do to help care for his road rash?

There are two types of people in this world—those who live to ride motorcycles and those who think motorcycles are too dangerous to get near. With over eight million registered motorcyclists in the United States—a million of them riders in Arizona and California—even if you’re one of the latter group, it’s a fair bet that you probably know someone who rides. However, since accidents can occur anywhere and at any time, injury safety is an important skill to have—no matter which type of person you are.

Motorcycle accident injuries are generally severe and can range from cuts and bruises to excruciating road rash and severe internal injuries. Although every injury should be thoroughly assessed by a medical professional, external injuries can be cared for on site to prevent further pain and infection. Therefore, if you witness an accident and choose to help the victim, you could wind up saving him from a lifetime of pain and agony.

Road rash is one of the most common external injuries that you can help assist with without causing further damage.

Helping to Take the Sting Out of Road Rash

Nearly 100,000 motorcyclists are injured every year due to collision accidents, according to data taken from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. The majority of these injuries are either cases of road rash or involve road rash injuries; it is extremely difficult to sustain motorcycle injuries without suffering some type of road rash.

Although road rash can be unpleasant—even harrowing—to view, if you can find the courage to help stabilize the wounds until medical help arrives, you can potentially save the victim’s life, decrease the chance of infection, and prevent long-lasting pain and potential disfiguring scars.

In the event of severe road rash:

  • Call an ambulance. Even minor cases of road rash can quickly become debilitating. Even if the victim seems okay, emergency personnel should still examine the wounds.
  • Assess the damage. Check to see how deep the wounds are and how much skin, muscle tissue, or bone is exposed.

For Minor Cases

  • Clean it. Try to clean the area the best you can with warm water. Bits of gravel and debris may become lodged in the wound and can quickly cause infections. Try to get as much out of the wound as possible.
  • Stop infections. Apply antibiotic ointment (if you have it) and a loose bandage to cover area and prevent further debris from making its way into the area.
  • Wait with the victim until emergency personnel arrive.

For Severe Cases

  • Stop bleeding. If the wounds are bleeding excessively, apply pressure to the areas to slow down blood loss.
  • Assess other possible injuries. Is the bike injured anywhere else? Without moving him too much, check to see if there are any other noticeable injuries, especially around the head, neck, or spine.
  • Clean the wound. If the bleeding stops before the ambulance arrives, try to clean the wound as best you can by removing any debris. Try not to touch the open wounds as your hands aren’t sterile. Avoid wrapping the wound until the ambulance arrives—just keep it clean and elevated to prevent blood loss and infection.

Remember, road rash can be extremely painful and can lead to a host of complications. Whether you’re the one who suffers and needs the help of a bystander or you are the bystander, being able to rely on this care knowledge can be a blessing for all those involved.

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