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Does It Need Stitches?

Cut Finger 641Does It Need Stitches?

When most of us think of cuts and scrapes, we picture children running, jumping, and climbing. But did you know adults are just as prone to these types of injuries? There are many tools we use at home and in the workplace that put us at risk of cuts (skin wounds typically caused by sharp objects) and lacerations (tearing wounds with jagged edges typically caused by blunt trauma).

Though they can’t be completely prevented throughout your life, there are things you can do to reduce the risk of incurring a cut or a laceration. First, read and follow all instructions carefully when using sharp tools and operating machinery—no matter how small or harmless they may seem. With some tools and machinery, you may even want to take a safety training course to learn how to handle them properly. Keep your hands away from blades and other tool parts and wear cut-resistant gloves and other protective gear when using these types of instruments. Never disengage tool and machinery guards! Many injuries from power saws are the result of the operator moving the guard out of the way to get better access to the saw edge for a specific cut. Finally, turn off and unplug all powered instruments when they are not being used.

What if you or someone you love receives a cut or laceration? Cuts and lacerations can bleed a lot, so you want to apply pressure to see if you can stop the bleeding. You also want to make sure the wound can be cleaned to prevent infection. Use only warm water and a mild cleanser and apply an antibacterial ointment. Then cover the area with a sterile bandage. You should seek medical attention immediately if:

  • The cut or laceration is deep or over a joint
  • The injury is more than an inch long, and the skin edges are separated
  • The wound is bleeding severely, and the bleeding doesn’t stop after 10 minutes of firm, steady pressure
  • You are unable to remove dirt or debris by your own gentle cleaning
  • The wound is from a human or animal bite
  • The injured person has not had a tetanus shot within the last 5 – 10 years (the tetanus bacterium is often present in dirt)
  • It’s possible that serious damage has occurred to a nerve or tendon

Now for the big question: Does it need stitches? It’s important with a cut or laceration to close the wound to facilitate the healing process and decrease the chance and size of a scar. But some wounds can be held together with skin tape or a special glue, rather than with stitches. In some cases, staples may even be used in place of stitches. Your doctor will be the best judge as to which type of closure will give the wound the best chance of healing with minimal scarring. And since you want the very best doctor handling this type of urgent care need, be sure to come to the best place for urgent care in Dallas, Hillcrest Medical.

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