6 Signs Your Cut Or Scrape Needs A Doctor

Cuts, bumps and bruises can feel like a near daily occurrence. And while it may be appealing to just shrug off that minor injury without any extra attention, there are some instances where extra TLC (tender love and care) is needed.

For most minor cuts and scrapes, you can utilize these 3 steps to ensure that your cuts and scrapes are on their way to a speedy recovery:
  • Control Bleeding
  • Clean the wound
  • Cover the injury
However, in the event that you or a loved one sustains a more serious injury, it can be hard to differentiate between when you need to see a doctor and when an at home remedy will do. Here are some key characteristics of injuries to keep in mind, if you experience one or more of these, you know a doctor’s visit is in order.

You can’t stop the bleeding. While major blood loss is not all that common with routine cuts and scrapes, it is possible, especially with an injury to a blood vessel.

       Keep in mind: If you apply direct pressure to a wound for five to 10 minutes and it continues to bleed, seek medical attention.

The wound is large and/or deep, or you can see muscles, tendons or bones. With larger injuries, especially those that are deep, at home medical care is not sufficient. Infection prevention and proper healing is more difficult with larger wounds.  

       Keep in mind: If the cut is deeper or longer than a ½ inch, seek medical care, especially if the injury is on the face or close to the eye.

The wound is caused by a dirty or rusty object. Wounds are germ hotspots and when it is caused by an object with additional germs, this can accelerate and increase the likelihood of infection.

       Keep in mind: Monitor for early signs of infection. These include warmth, redness, swelling or drainage (pus or fluid). If you notice any of these, seek medical attention.

The wound is embedded with debris such as dirt, stones or gravel. When a foreign object is inside of a wound, this can spur on pain and infection. It is important to safely and thoroughly remove the debris within the wound.

       Keep in mind: It may be difficult to tell if there is debris within the wound. If you notice any abnormal swelling and/or bulging, or excessive pain, it is best to see a doctor and express your concerns.

The wound is caused by a human or animal bite. This type of injury is especially dangerous as bacteria runs rampant inside of mouths. With a bite, the risk of infection is very high, not only because of bacteria, but also because of teeth, which can cause very deep puncture wounds.

       Keep in mind: The medical history of the animal or person who causes the injury is important.

If it has been 10 years or more since your last tetanus shot. Tetanus, or lockjaw, is a serious infection caused by the bacteria, clostridium tetani. The most common ways that tetanus gets into your body is through an injury by an object that contains one of more of the following:
  • Dirt, poop or spit (saliva)
  • Nails or needles that puncture the skin
  • Burns
  • Crush injuries (an injury by an object that causes compression to the body)
  • Injuries with dead tissue

       Keep in mind: Tetanus has a wide-ranging incubation period. This means that between the time you were exposed to the bacteria to the time you experience the illness could be anywhere between 1 to 21 days. In addition to monitoring for symptoms, make sure to see a doctor immediately if you believe you may have been exposed to tetanus.

Peace of mind. When it comes to cuts and scrapes, proper treatment and infection prevention is not something you want to overlook. It can be difficult to know where to go when faced with an urgent medical situation and with convenient ChoiceOne Urgent Care locations; you can rest assured that any cut or scrape you have will be thoroughly cared for. The specialists at ChoiceOne Urgent care are experts at diagnosing and treating a variety of common health conditions, cuts and scrapes included. 

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