Velocity Care explains how to tell if a cut or wound may need extra attention
Your child was playing outside and got a nasty looking wound. Perhaps you were doing work around the house and accidentally cut yourself with a sharp tool or kitchen knife. These kinds of mishaps happen to everyone from time to time. How do you know if it’s serious enough for a trip to the doctor and stitches?
No one wants to run to the doctor for every cut, but you also don’t want to ignore a serious injury and make it worse in the long run. Here are some tips to help you determine the severity of a wound.
How can you tell, just by looking, if you need stitches?
- The wound is deep enough that you can see muscle, bone or fatty tissue.
- The cut is deeper than a quarter inch, longer than an inch or has uneven edges.
- The injury is the result of an animal (or human) bite.
- A gash is gaping open or gushing blood.
- The wound is from a projectile or an object that impales the skin.
- The injury is deep and passes over a joint, which may be cause for concern, especially if it worsens when you move the joint and/or you can see bone or muscle.
- The object that injured you is dirty or contaminated.
- The wound is on the face, head, lips, eyelids or genitalia.
- It bleeds for more than 15 minutes, even though you are applying pressure.
These types of injuries may not require stitches, but they are severe enough to have them checked by a physician. Overall, when in doubt, always consult a medical professional.
Steps to take for an open wound
- Wash the area well with warm water using a mild, antibacterial soap.
- Avoid using an antiseptic or antibiotic until you have the wound examined by a doctor.
- Keep a close eye on the injury. If it gets worse, see a doctor.
What can happen if you don’t get stitches?
- The longer the wound remains open, the greater the chance for infection.
- The wound may not heal properly.
- There is an increased possibility for scarring.
What you need to know before going to a hospital or urgent care facility
If there are foreign objects in the wound, don’t remove them. They may be stopping the bleeding.
Any kind of bite that is more than superficial and causes bleeding requires medical attention. The physician may prescribe antibiotics for your protection.
Resist the urge to give the victim anything to eat or drink. If it turns out she will need sedation, food or drink could affect treatment.
Elevate the wound and apply pressure on the way to seeking medical treatment. This should help to halt or decelerate the bleeding.
Don’t panic. The sight of blood can be a traumatic experience, particularly when it involves you or a loved one. Nonetheless, losing your cool can make the situation worse and delay getting much-needed help.
It is vital to have a wound examined and taken care of within 12 hours to prevent further problems. Thankfully, the trained medical staff at Velocity Care Urgent Treatment Center is available to give you the right advice and best treatment. With their help, you can be treated and released in less time than a traditional hospital emergency room. Visit Velocity Care’s website today to find a location near you.
Photo credit: 123RF Stock Photo
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