Cuts and Lacerations
One of the reasons that people seek out care at an urgent care is for managing open wounds like bad cuts, lacerations and other injuries. Let’s face it, many people just don’t handle seeing blood or dealing with ragged or open tears in their skin. Worse, trying to clean an open wound can be painful and unpleasant.
But the bigger question often is when a cut needs stitches or not. Here are some helpful hints to better make that determination.
When to get help:
- Anytime blood is bright red and/or spurting.
- Anytime bleeding cannot be controlled.
- If the wound is deep, caused by an object that has punctured deeply or is impaled. If impaled, DO NOT REMOVE the impaled object.
- If the bleeding is causing any difficulty breathing
- If the wound involves a joint or extends across one.
- If the wound also involves a broken bone.
- If the wound was caused by an animal bite.
- If there might be any foreign objects in the wound such as glass, dirt or other debris.
What can you do to manage a cut or laceration?
- Stop the bleeding using a clean, dry bandage and by applying firm pressure
- If bleeding has stopped, clean the wound gently with mild soap and water.
- Keep the wound clean, covered and dry. You do not always need to apply any ointments as this can often just create a dark, moist environment for bacteria to breed. If in doubt, consult a medical professional.
- If there is any sign of redness, drainage, fever, swelling, excessive pain or red streaks, IMMEDIATELY SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION.
- Be sure to update your tetanus immunization if it has been longer than 10 years or if you’re not sure of your last update.