How to Know When Your Cut Needs Medical Attention

Most cuts will heal up on their own, but some require stitches to heal correctly. If you or your child gets wounded, how are you supposed to know which cut or laceration requires medical attention and which one doesn’t?

Our AFC Urgent Care Cleveland team provides some helpful answers below, so read on!

  • Here’s what to do: First, evaluate the size and depth of your cut. You should seek medical attention if the wound is deeper or longer than half an inch, opens so wide that you can’t get the edges together with just a little pressure or has debris in it such as dirt, glass or gravel.
  • What to do after: Monitor how much your cut is bleeding. If it hasn’t stopped bleeding in 10 minutes, even after applying direct pressure for that length of time, seek medical attention.
  • What to do next: Take the location of the cut into account. Lacerations on places like the face, joints, hand, genitals and near the eye will require medical attention.
  • After that: Do some basic first aid on the cut. If you think it might require stitches, apply pressure on the laceration, rinse it under running water and put a bandage or gauze on it to keep the bleeding under control before getting stitches.
  • One more thing to keep in mind: What caused the cut or laceration? For some wounds, you may need a tetanus shot as well as stitches. If the wound was caused by something like an animal or human bite, dirty or rusty object or a pointed object that might have driven deep into the skin, such as a nail, seek medical attention right away.
  • Watch out for signs of infection: If there is redness around the laceration, increased swelling, pus, drainage or red streaks spreading out from the wound, visit your doctor ASAP.
  • Action steps to take: If the cut falls into any of these categories, there is a strong chance that you or your child will need stitches. Visit our AFC center ASAP to avoid any further complications, like excess blood loss or infection.
  • Doctor recommendations: Try to stay calm and think clearly when you suffer a wound that bleeds a lot. It can be easy to panic, but applying pressure, rinsing the wound and bandaging it up should be the first things you do after suffering a laceration. Also, if something like a nail is stuck in the skin, leave it in before arriving at the doctor’s office as that may keep the bleeding at bay.

Think you might need stitches? Our AFC Urgent Care Cleveland team is here for you, so don’t hesitate to visit us!

AFC CORPORATE OFFICE

3700 Cahaba Beach Road Birmingham, AL 35242

Our Mission and Values:

Our mission is to provide the best healthcare possible in a kind and caring environment, in an economical manner, while respecting the rights of all of our patients, at times and locations convenient to the patient.

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