When to go to Urgent Care for Cuts
While some cuts can be treated at home, others require more advanced treatments. Treating a cut at home involves cleaning it and then applying a bandage to prevent infection. It’s important that any dirt, debris or harmful particles are cleaned out of a cut before it is closed up so that you don’t risk developing an infection. However, larger or deeper cuts will likely need stitches; in these cases, seeing a doctor as soon as possible is important in order to ensure quick healing and avoid permanent scarring. While most minor cuts do not need stitches, they do need proper care in order to keep them from becoming infected.
If you have a deep or puncture wound, apply pressure with a clean cloth. Cleanse your wound thoroughly and apply pressure bandages. Elevate your extremity if possible. Seek medical attention if bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure. When to Go: If you think you might have an infection, go immediately! Signs of infection include pain, swelling and redness around your wound; increased tenderness; warmth near your wound; pus drainage from your cut; fever over 101 degrees F.
The appearance of a cut is important. If you’re not sure how serious it is, consider going to urgent care. Signs that indicate a visit to urgent care are: A cut that causes loss of fluid (bleeding) or if it looks like it might have nicked an artery A cut that was caused by something dirty – like a nail, wire, glass shards etc. A laceration that has penetrated through an underlying body part (like bone) That said, if your injury comes from something clean and you know there are no broken bones and bleeding has stopped then it might be okay just getting antibiotics over-the-counter at your local pharmacy. Bottom line: If you aren’t 100% sure about whether you need urgent care or not – GO!
If you have a cut that’s bleeding excessively, or if it’s deep, or if there are objects stuck in it, then head to urgent care. This is especially true if you can see bone protruding from your skin. If any of these things are true about your cut, urgent care will treat your wound with one of three techniques: stitchery (yes, doctors use stitches), glue and tape (doctors use superglue and sterile gauze) or sutures (little surgical needles used to anchor together tissue). While they close up your wound (hopefully not leaving behind ugly scars), they also take x-rays to ensure that no object is left inside of you.