A rug burn or friction burn occurs if the skin rubs or slides against any rough surface such as carpet or a rug. Generally, the injury is minor and does not result to any lasting issues.
Although the injury is relatively minor, it is considered as a form of first-degree burn. If an individual fall and his/her bare skin is exposed to a rug or carpet, the resistance can produce sufficient heat to remove or harm the upper skin layer, resulting to a burn-like mark.
A rug burn can occur in any body part such as the legs, knees, elbows, face or hands. Sliding or falling on the carpet will not always result to a rug burn. It is usually based on the seriousness of the fall and speed when the skin rubbed against the surface.
A rug burn can range from minor to severe. The indications of this type of injury include discoloration, redness and pain at the site.
The site of contact might be sensitive to touch in which clothing can irritate the wound and cause further discomfort. In some cases, there is itchiness and swelling.
Since a rug burn removes the upper skin layer, there is a possibility for the formation of an open sore. In such cases, it is considered severe and there is some moisture bordering the wound. This requires immediate treatment to lower the risk for infection.
Management of a rug burn
A rug burn can occur to any individual and the injury does not typically require seeing a doctor. Some of the measures that can be done at home include:
- Running cold water over the rug burn up to 15 minutes – the cold can lessen the inflammation and swelling. After rinsing the site, it can be cleansed with mild soap and water.
- Dab on an antibiotic ointment after wound cleaning – this helps lessen the inflammation and eliminates bacteria.
- Place a slack bandage or gauze for protection – this prevents the entry of bacteria into the wound as well as prevent irritation
- Pain medications – if needed, an over-the-counter pain medication can be used to lessen the discomfort until the wound fully heals.
A rug burn is generally minor and recuperates within a week without any evident scarring. Based on the seriousness, though, the injury can result to a lasting scar or minimal discoloration on the site.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on a rug burn is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the signs and how it is managed by taking a standard first aid course with Toronto First Aid.