Getting a cut or laceration is certainly common, and most cuts can be taken care of at home with a little antiseptic and a band-aid. When you or a family member gets a more significant cut, you may not know when visiting the doctor or urgent-care center is necessary. Fortunately, there are a few signs that will let you know exactly what to do.
Body Cuts and Lacerations
Many cuts initially bleed quite a bit, but when the bleeding does not quickly slow down, you need to visit the emergency room or an urgent-care facility. Other signals that indicate a need for treatment include being able to see the yellow fat layer of your skin and having trouble pressing the edges of the cut together. If an animal bite breaks open your skin, you should seek medical help simply because you may need antibiotics or a tetanus shot. Also, there may be some question as to whether the animal had rabies. In those instances, you may need a series of rabies shots. Your doctor will have to do some research to determine if you need that course of treatment. If you have a deep cut across a joint, you should have a doctor examine it to make sure no nerves or tendons have been damaged.
Even a small cut to the head can bleed profusely due to the number of blood vessels there, causing great concern when the injury is actually a small one. Experts say you should first try and stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound. If the bleeding slows or stops and is less than 1/4 an inch deep, you can skip the medical visit. You should make an exception if dirt or other foreign substances are lodged in the wound without your being able to get them out. Also, if the cut was caused by a blow to the head, you should check with a doctor to determine if you received a concussion. Doctors do recommend seeking treatment for any cut to the face due to the potential for scarring. Quick intervention by a plastic surgeon can ensure that your appearance is not adversely affected.
Cuts can be tricky. Even small ones may bleed and make you wonder if you need to seek medical assistance. In most cases, you can care for small cuts at home. Remember, a little bleeding is a good thing because it cleanses the wound. If the cut is deep or will not stop bleeding, see medical help from a professional such as Walton Family Medicine PC immediately.