The skin consists of three layers, the epidermis, dermis, and the fat layer. The epidermis is an extremely thin top layer which we most associate with the term "skin." The dermis is immediately below the epidermis and is home to hair follicles, sweat glands, and small blood carrying capillaries. The bottom fat layer contains just that along with blood vessels and nerves.
A cut or scrape occurs when one or more of these skin layers is punctured. The severity of the wound depends, among other things, on the depth of the puncture, the instrument or object that pierced the skin, and the location of the cut. Many people successfully treat cuts and scrapes at home with the use of cleansers and antibiotic ointments. However, for more serious wounds (such as ones that do not close, ones that may have damaged some underlying skin component or ones that are particularly unclean) the victim should seek medical attention. Additionally, the victim should consult a physician about receiving a tetanus booster shot if he or she has not had one within the previous five years. The tetanus shot helps to prevent "lockjaw," a potentially deadly condition that may result from an improperly treated wound.
The tearing of skin causes an abrasion. As with cuts and scrapes, many people successfully treat abrasions at home with the use of cleansers and antibiotic ointments. However, for more serious abrasions the victim should seek medical attention.
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