From accidentally cutting your arm to scraping your knee, skin trauma like cuts and lacerations are incredibly common, and many are bad enough to warrant medical attention. In one year, 17.2 million people sought medical or emergency care for cuts, lacerations or other wounds, and many were bad enough to warrant staying in hospital for treatment. Untreated wounds can also be dangerous, as they leave the possibility of infection, blood loss and other complications.
Fortunately there are several ways to treat cuts and lacerations, so to examine what treatment you might need for them, let’s look at the types of wounds you can encounter, the complications from leaving them untreated, and available treatment options. If you live in Little River South Carolina, and you’re dealing with cuts or lacerations that require medical attention, Dr. Rogers Walker and Walker Urgent & Family Care are here to help.
Types of wounds
Acute wounds are the cuts, scrapes, and other wounds that are caused by dangerous surfaces or common objects, and include:
- Abrasions: injuries that occur when your skin rubs or scrapes against an object or surface enough to cause injury
- Lacerations: a deep cut into your skin, often from a sharp object, which can cause rapid bleeding
- Puncture: a hole in the skin caused by a pointed object like a needle, nail, or screw
- Avulsion: partial or complete tearing of skin and underlying tissue, which can result from severe trauma from accidents, explosions, or gunshots
Complications from untreated wounds
Leaving a wound untreated for whatever reason often results in infection, which can lead to an increase in drainage, pus (either thick-colored or foul-smelling), an increase in pain, blisters, sores, fever, or swollen lymph nodes. Types of infections that can get into wounds include staph infection, tetanus, and necrotizing fasciitis.
A deep enough wound can also cause a hemorrhage, which occurs when a damaged blood vessel bleeds and can lead to dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, weakness, and nausea depending on the severity of the injury.
Treating a wound
The basics of treating any wound involve stopping the bleeding, cleaning it, closing it, and dressing it, if necessary. There are several ways to treat a wound, which can vary depending on severity:
1. Bandages/ gauze
Gauze is a common way of keeping wounds from preventing particles or bacteria from getting in as well as helping to keep the bleeding under control. Medical bandages help to keep gauze in place.
Another common method of treating cuts deep enough in the skin to warrant something more than gauze or bandages is getting stitches (or sutures), which are made from either absorbable or non absorbable materials depending on where they are applied and are sewn into an injury.
Another option for closing wounds is surgical staples, which are also used frequently to close after surgery. They do not dissolve over time like stitches, so they need to be removed after the wound closes.
4. Skin Glue
Also referred to as liquid stitches or tissue adhesive, skin glue can be used for different types of lacerations and can help lower infection rates, create less scarring, and doesn’t require as much time in an operating room.
Part of treating a wound is cleaning it, and various antiseptics can be used to prevent possible infection. Ointments, creams, and even bandages can contain antiseptic to help protect your wound.
So no matter what kind of wound you’re treating, options are available. If you’re dealing with an acute cut or laceration that needs treatment, contact Dr. Walker and Walker Urgent & Family Care right away for treatment.