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When to Go to the ER for Scrapes and Cuts

1 in 5 US adults visit the emergency room every year.

However, you might not know when to go to the ER for a cut. After all, most cuts aren’t severe and heal properly with a first-aid kit.

But you must understand when a cut is severe enough to warrant an ER visit. If you do, you’ll mitigate the chances of suffering severe health complications due to a neglected cut. To do that, you need to do a little research, starting with reading the guide below.

The Bleeding Won’t Stop

Stop a cut’s bleeding by applying pressure with a tissue, clean cloth, or a gauze pad. It should slow and stop after a few minutes, but remember to maintain pressure until those few minutes are up.

If the cut keeps bleeding after 10-15 minutes, go to the emergency room. You might need stitches to close the wound and stop blood loss.


To disinfect a wound, rinse it under running water for 5-10 minutes. Clean the skin around the wound with soap and water, and perhaps an antiseptic — though try not getting the antiseptic into the wound. Finally, wrap it in a sterile dressing.

If you suspect that your wound is infected, go to the emergency room right away. Typical signs of infection are warmth, redness, pus discharge, pain, and fever. The physician will treat the infected area properly before the infection spreads into deeper skin tissues.

Scrape Not Healing Quickly/At All

Multiple reasons for a cut not healing include pathogen exposure, dryness, medication, etc. But if you feel like you’ve done everything possible to maintain the wound’s healing process, you must head to the ER.

Once you do, a physician will diagnose the underlying cause for your cut’s inability to heal. 

The Cut is Too Deep

If your wound is deep enough to expose veins, muscles, and fat, it’s too deep for at-home care. These wounds are far more susceptible to complications, especially since deeper tissue is more easily exposed to external pollutants.

So in the event of a too-deep cut, you must rush to the ER. Wounds that are too deep are unviable to treat at home and must be tended to by a well-trained medical professional.

The Cut is Due to a Rusty/Dirty Object

Patients can suffer from tetanus infections if tetanus bacteria enters a wound. Dirty and rusty objects also have a comparably high likelihood of containing organic material that allows tetanus bacteria to thrive.

Tetanus symptoms include seizures, painful muscle stiffness, fevers, and profuse sweating. So if your wound is due to a rusty and/or dirty object, head to the ER for treatment before these symptoms have a chance to manifest.

Know When to Visit Your Local Physicians Premier Facility 

Most cuts are minor and will heal themselves. But sometimes, you must make the right call and know when to go to the ER for a cut.

Physicians Premier is a freestanding emergency room in Bulverde, TX. We are dedicated to providing the most efficient, compassionate, and patient-centered emergency care. So, if you notice any of the signs above, don’t hesitate to walk in and receive the treatment you need.


“1 in 5 US Adults Visits ER Yearly” Live Science, 16 Feb. 2018,

“Tetanus Symptoms and Complications – CDC” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.