Accidents happen in the blink of an eye. Whether you're cooking and accidentally cut yourself or your child cuts their foot while walking barefoot, your immediate goal is to tend to the injury. But how do you know if you need medical attention? Below is a brief overview to help you determine if a cut needs medical care.
If you’re ever unsure, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Our providers at Express Lane Urgent Care are happy to can clean minor wounds and suture lacerations that require stitches.
The size and shape of the cut
Cuts can be short and straight or wide and jagged. If your cut has any of the following characteristics, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention:
- Jagged edges
- Deep cuts
- Wide cuts
- Length longer than 0.5 inches
Puncture wounds should also be professionally evaluated. A proper debridement (removing debris) can help prevent infection.
The location of the cut
Some lacerations may need medical care even if they're small. For example, a cut on your face may require more tender care to reduce scarring. A cut on a joint may also benefit from medical care since the unique movement of a joint may prevent the cut from healing.
The cause of the cut
The cause of a cut may determine if you can treat your injury at home or not. For example, if you cut yourself on a rusty nail, one of our providers may suggest a tetanus booster, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
Other cuts that require medical care, regardless of size, include animal bites, cuts caused by rusty metal, and puncture wounds.
The intensity of bleeding
Most cuts bleed at least a little bit. Usually, applying pressure can help stop the bleeding. However, if your cut continues to bleed despite applying pressure for 10 minutes, it needs medical attention. Lacerations that continue to soak through bandages also require attention.
Note: In the case of spurting blood, head to the nearest emergency room.
We’re here when you need us!
Whether you’re in need of stitches or you’re just feeling under the weather, we’re here to help you feel better. We can clean and debride minor wounds as well as stitch minor cuts and lacerations. We’ll also bandage your wounds and teach you how to take care of them at home.
Questions? Give us a call at 209-664-1550. You can also stop by our urgent care clinic located at 711 East Hawkeye, Turlock, California.