You’ve Got a Cut or Scrape – Now What?

June 14, 2017

Some guidelines to help determine whether you need medical attention.

It happens to all of us at some point – there’s a little slip, and you’re bleeding. It can be difficult to know whether you need stitches, or whether the cut can heal on its own.

Most wounds should be closed within 6 to 8 hours after they occur. Clean any wound as soon as it occurs to cut down on the risk of infection, and try to stop the bleeding by applying constant pressure, and elevating it. If you plan to seek medical attention for the wound, do not use antiseptic cleaners until after the provider has had a chance to examine the wound.
Many people think they must go to the emergency room if they believe stitches are necessary. That is not the case. A Quick Care Med provider can get you fixed up quicker, (in most cases), and at a much lower cost than in the ER.

 

Guidelines for Seeking Medical Treatment for a Cut or Wound

If any of the following conditions are present, it is best to have a Quick Care Med provider, or other medical professional, assess your injury and determine the next steps:
• A wound is more than .25 inches deep, or .75 inches long
• You continue to bleed heavily even after you have tried to stop the bleeding
• The wound is gaping open or has jagged edges
• You have received a deep bite (from an animal or human)
• Wounds that appear to go down to the lower layers of skin, fat, muscle, or bone
• Any significant cut or scrape on the face (for cosmetic reasons)
• Wounds that were caused by something rusty, dirty, or potentially contaminated

(Source: WebMD)

 

Wounds that May Not Require Medical Treatment

It is always best to use your judgment when determining whether or not to seek medical treatment. However, it is less likely that you will need stitches if any of the following conditions exist:
• Your wound is less than .25 inches deep or .75 inches long
• The cut is from a clean object, like a kitchen knife
• The edges of the wound stay together while you move normally
• You have stopped the bleeding on a smaller cut or scrape
• The wound is from a puncture – these wounds are usually deeper and harder to clean, so stitches could actually seal bacteria into the wound and create a higher risk of infection
If you choose to treat the wound at home, the most important thing is to make sure the wound is cleaned properly. Use clean water ONLY to clean the wound. Soap, peroxide or alcohol is not necessary and can cause irritation. If foreign objects, such as gravel or glass, are present in the wound, clean tweezers with alcohol to sterilize, and use them to pick out the pieces.
• Once the wound is clean, and bleeding has stopped, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment – to fight off infection and keep the wound moist
• Cover the area with a clean bandage or gauze. Change daily or when wet or dirty
• Once the wound has developed a scab, leave the scab in place and uncover the wound. Exposure to air will help the wound heal faster

 

Signs of Infection

Whether or not you received stitches, the possibility exists that a wound could become infected. If any of the following occur, seek medical assistance right away:
• Green or yellow pus or discharge is coming from the wound
• Warmth on or around the wound
• Redness spreading out from the wound
If there is any doubt about whether you should seek medical attention, it is always preferable to be safe and have your wound checked.

4 Responses to You’ve Got a Cut or Scrape – Now What?

  1. I’m so happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that’s at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.

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