Lacerations, Wounds, Bleeding

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Prompt Care for Injuries

While wounds like a scraped knee or a paper cut likely aren’t medical emergencies, more serious wounds need prompt medical treatment and can even be life-threatening. Even seemingly minor injuries may become more severe if they become infected, which can lead to septic shock or even death. If you aren’t sure whether your wound requires emergency treatment, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Seek care immediately for severe injuries to properly disinfect, clean, and perhaps suture the laceration or wound. 

Any wound may become serious, but you should see a doctor if any of the following has happened:

  • You have suffered a severe accident.
  • Bleeding does not stop with direct pressure.
  • The wound is very large or deeper than half an inch.
  • After bandaging the wound, blood soaks through it.
  • An object is stuck in the wound.
  • An animal has bitten you.
  • The wound was caused by a rusty or dirty object. (This may require a tetanus shot, particularly if you haven’t had one in at least 5 years.)
  • You have difficulty moving a wounded limb.
  • Your wound has a foul odor or discharge.
  • The wound is slow to heal.
  • You feel disoriented or have other unusual symptoms. 
  • The skin around the wound is warm or swollen.

How Are Open Wounds Treated?

Wound treatment varies depending on the nature and cause of your wound. Techniques like skin “superglue” or sutures may help close open wounds, but puncture wounds may require treatment like tetanus shots, especially if the injury is prone to infection or a dirty object caused the wound. For patients prone to infection, or if their wound is already infected, antibiotics may be required. Once you leave our center, you may be given additional bandages, dressings, or antibacterial gels or creams to keep your wound protected to aid healing. 

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