Houston ER

Most cuts and lacerations don’t require a visit to the emergency room and can be dealt with at home. But if your wound is deep and exposes the fat or muscle beneath the skin, then a trip to an emergency room is mandatory. Cuts that require stitches must be taken care of by a doctor within six hours of the injury.

How can you tell if you or a family member needs medical attention?

Here are a few guidelines that can teach you how to deal with cuts and lacerations.

First Aid

First things first: Wash your hands to avoid microbial contamination of the wound. Next, clean the wound thoroughly with water. Avoid applying soap directly on the laceration, even if it’s a mild, antibacterial one. Also, don’t use iodine or hydrogen peroxide to clean the wound since they can cause irritations.

Use a tweezer that you’ve disinfected with alcohol to remove any dirt from the injury. If you can’t remove all the debris or if you’re unsure whether the wound is cleaned properly, then it’s best to see a doctor.

Most minor cuts stop bleeding on their own after several minutes. If needed, use a sterile cloth to apply gentle pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding.

Apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection and to keep the surrounding area moisturized.

Cover the wound with a sterile bandage to keep it clean. Change the dressing once a day or whenever it gets wet or dirty. Watch for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, increased pain, or drainage.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Although most wounds are minor and don’t require medical attention, be wary of the following signs:

  • You are bleeding profusely even after ten minutes of applied pressure;
  • The wound is larger than a quarter inch, is deep, and is located over a joint. Even if the bleeding is not severe, you should still go to the emergency room if the laceration is deep or jagged;
  • You’ve been bitten by an animal. Even if it’s your cat or dog, a visit to the emergency room is mandatory. Especially in the case of cat bites, their teeth are long and sharp and can puncture deep into the skin;
  • You’ve stepped on a nail or cut yourself on a rusty object, in which case you will need a tetanus booster.

Whether you’ve cut yourself while making dinner or you’ve scratched your leg while mountain climbing, accidents happen. Take quick action, clean the wound thoroughly, and don’t hesitate to seek medical attention with us at Physicians Premier, your Houston ER, if you feel you can’t treat the wound by yourself.

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