How to soothe rug burn

Written by corey m. mackenzie
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Frictions from carpet against skin causes friction burns. As skin gets pushed along the rug, the fibres of the rug remove layers of skin, exposing sensitive skin beneath. This can occur anywhere on the body that makes contact with the rug, but is common on the large joints (elbows and knees, for example). Rug burns aren't usually serious, but they can be quite painful. If enough skin is rubbed off, the area can scab. Treat rug burn as a minor burn or abrasion, because that is essentially what it is (and why it stings so much).

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Soft cloth
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Topical analgesic spray or gel

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  1. 1

    Gently wash the rug burnt area with cool water. If the skin is broken, use an antibacterial soap to cleanse it. If it is very painful, you may apply ice to it; wrap the ice in a washcloth or towel first so you don't damage your skin.

  2. 2

    Pat the skin dry with a soft cloth. Apply a topical analgesic to the area (use a triple antibiotic ointment with a pain reliever included, if skin is broken). This will temporarily relieve the burning sensation.

  3. 3

    Keep the skin cool. Wear breathable, soft fabrics, if the rug burn is on an area (such as the knees) you must cover with clothing during cool weather. Apply more analgesic as frequently as the label indicates; otherwise let the burn remain exposed to air (not bandaged), clean and dry.

Tips and warnings

  • A baby's delicate skin is prone to this kind of burn. If your baby is starting to move around a lot, consider keeping her knees covered when she is crawling on carpet.
  • If the skin was broken (which is not common) and you develop signs of an infection (pus and swelling) see your doctor.

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