Lacerations & Wound Care: Emergency Room Near You
A laceration wound is one that is torn or jagged and it is usually caused by sharp objects such as broken glass, knives among others. They are common injuries and can happen to anyone at any time as you carry out your daily activities at home or at work. When you suffer a laceration, other than the pain, the other main concern is to stop the bleeding since we all know that an excessive loss of blood can be potentially life-threatening. You also have to worry about infection as the opening to the skin caused by a laceration wound provides an avenue for infection causing bacteria and other organisms to enter your body. Depending on the size of the wound and the location, you may also have you worry about future scars, especially for laceration wounds on the face. This is where stitching and closing of the wound comes in as it is usually done so as to not only accelerate healing and prevent infection, but also to minimize any future scarring. It is important to know the lacerations that can be handled at home with at-home care and those that require a visit to an emergency room as well as the wound care after treatment, something this article will look to help with.
If you have a minor laceration, then it is possible to take care of it at home without having to go to an emergency room near you. The first thing you should do for minor laceration is to clean out any dirt, gravel or any other debris with water and soap. When using soap, take care not to get it directly in the cut as this may lead to irritation. Proceed to then use a clean cloth to apply pressure on the laceration wound if it is still bleeding so as to stem the bleeding. You can also elevate the injured body part above the heart to help with the bleeding if possible, especially if the laceration is on the leg or arm. After stemming the bleeding, you should apply an antibiotic ointment which works to not only kill any bacteria, but also prevents the injured area from drying out. You can alternatively use a bandage which will ensure your wound remains clean and is protected from bacteria. Once the laceration wound starts to heal, you should resist the temptation to pick at the scabs. These scabs are important as they prevent the wound from getting dirty so leave them alone. Once the wound is fully healed, they will fall off.
While most lacerations can be treated at home, there are those that require one to head to an emergency room near you as soon as you can to be attended to. Lacerations that should be handled at emergency room include those that are deep enough to expose underlying tissue such as the dermis, the yellow subcutaneous fatty tissue or even bone, those that are located on or across a joint, those where the wound is gaping, those which are contaminated or were caused by an object that is very dirty or rusty, those that are as a result of an animal or human bite, those that are as a result of a foreign body impaling the area, those caused by a high-pressure impact from a projectile such as a bullet, those that are bleeding profusely where you can’t stop the bleeding or the blood is coming out in squirts as well as those that are located on a cosmetically significant area like the face or near the genitalia.
Once you reach the emergency room, wound care involves first trying to stop bleeding by applying direct pressure or a tourniquet. You may be given numbing medication depending on the location and size of the laceration. Another very important part of wound care in the emergency room is cleaning of the wound and this may involve cleaning the wound initially with soap and water then using diluted hydrogen peroxide to remove any crusted blood. After that, the wound may be irrigated under high pressure with saline to deal with bacterial contamination. After this, physicians will then proceed to close your wound, with the method used being dependent on the size and location of your cut. Minor cuts may be closed with special adhesive tapes or tissue glue while those that are deeper may need stitches. After the wound is closed, a bandage may be applied to help keep it clean and free from contamination. After that, you will be free to go home. You may be required to come back in after a day or two if there is a high chance of your wound being infected so that it can be checked, and the bandage changed if necessary. After that, you will be told when to come in for removal of your stitches. Since healing with face lacerations occurs faster, stitches there may be removed after 4 days and they shouldn’t last more than 7 days as this may cause additional scarring. Stitches in your hand may stay in longer, up to 14 days or more as wounds here have greater tension on them and thus heal a lot slower. Once the stitches are removed, you should be careful with the wound to prevent them from reopening. Keep the wound clean and covered when it is healing to prevent infection from ensuing. Keep in mind that good wound care for lacerations usually minimizes scarring.
The above are some of the things you should know when it comes to lacerations and wound care and we hope that the information will come in handy if you are ever in such a situation.