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Road rash dangers: What should you expect?

You enjoy heading out on a motorcycle. However, the last time you did, you were surprised by a driver who didn't stop at an intersection. You ended up getting out of the way, but you lost control and crashed. Now, you have road rash as a result.

While some forms of road rash can be treated at home, that's not always the case. In fact, some road rash is so serious that it can significantly change your life.

How serious is road rash?

Sometimes, it is extremely dangerous. Other times, it's nothing more than a rug burn-like injury. The severity depends on how hard you hit the road, the speed at which you hit and how much your skin grinds against the road's surface. The friction that causes road rash rapidly tears through the skin, muscle and can impact bone.

In significant cases of road rash, patients may need surgery to clean the wounds, transplant skin and treat the wounds for infection. Even minor cases of road rash often become infected and need antibiotics.

The problem with road rash is that it's a result of the skin being torn away. Without the skin to prevent infection, patients are exposed to many kinds of bacteria that enter through the wound. There is no line of defense.

Also, the pain from these injuries can be severe. The patient may require around-the-clock medication to live comfortably as the body heals.

How do you prevent road rash?

The primary way to avoid road rash in a motorcycle collision is by wearing appropriate riding gear, including a jacket, pants and other gear that is designed to stand up against heavy friction and prevent your skin from taking that impact. Wearing pants or a jacket could be the difference between walking away relatively unscathed and heading to the hospital with deep friction wounds.

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