Wound and Lacerations
There are many ways to injure the human body and often times this results in tearing open the skin. The severity of the injury determines the severity (how deep) the resulting wound.
The most common types of wounds are:
An abrasion occurs when your skin rubs or scrapes against a rough or hard surface. Think “road rash.” There usually is NOT much – if any – bleeding and it typically does NOT require medical intervention.
Home care should include good cleaning to prevent infection and topical OTC antibiotic as needed.
A laceration is a deeper cut or tear to your skin usually resulting from a sharp object. A laceration nearly always results in bleeding and can sometimes be difficult to control if the wound is over a joint or is particularly long or deep.
Home care should include covering the wound with a clean covering to control bleeding. Apply direct pressure as needed.
Seek medical care to clean the wound and repair the laceration. Lacerations typically require stitches and, in some instances, a physician may elect to place staples.
If the wound is the result of a dirty object or is deep, the physician may recommend antibiotics and may update your tetanus.
A puncture is a hole caused by a sharp objects- often a nail or something similar.
Punctures may not bleed much but can be deep enough to cause internal damage to organs depending on the location of the wound.
You should seek immediate attention if you have a puncture wound to any part of your chest, abdomen, face, or throat.
An avulsion is a partial or complete tear of the skin and tissue beneath; usually at an angle that results in varying depths of injury.
A common type of avulsion occurs when the finger tip is lacerated by a sharp object- often a kitchen knife. Sometimes, the skin is completely “avulsed” off.
These types of injuries/wounds tend to bleed very heavily and DO require medical attention. The best home intervention prior to seeking help is to apply direct pressure with a clean bandage. NEVER tear away any piece of skin or tissue.
Home Care for Minor Wounds
Wash the wound with soap and water, being careful to remove any dirt and debris.
Control any minor bleeding
Apply a sterile dressing and bandage as needed daily
Apply ice for any bruising or swelling
Avoid picking any scabs
Watch for infection
Use over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed for discomfort
When to Seek Further Medical Attention
For any open wound greater than ½ inch
For bleeding that does not stop with direct pressure
For bleeding lasting longer than 20 minutes or if the patient is on blood thinners
For wounds over any joint
For any wound on the face, throat or impairs breathing
For any puncture wound