When to go to Urgent Care for Lacerations

When to go to Urgent Care for Lacerations

When you have an open wound, you should consider going to urgent care. Many cuts and scrapes do not require immediate medical attention, but it’s best to treat them right away. When you get a cut, your immune system kicks into high gear: The body releases white blood cells that clean up pathogens and launch an attack on bacteria or other types of foreign material. But when your skin is broken and there’s less protection against germs and viruses, things can go south fast. You want your immune system working at full strength so it can fight off infections before they become serious problems.

It’s a short drive from Urgent Care for Allergies and urgent care for asthma, but in an emergency there may not be time. If you’re new to a city or if your regular doctor isn’t available, these guidelines can help you decide if you should skip urgent care and head straight to an emergency room instead.

As winter approaches, you might find yourself suddenly presented with a laceration. What should you do? While it’s tempting to avoid going in to urgent care or your doctor’s office, there are times when it’s best not to wait. If a laceration is severe or if you can feel something beneath your skin (i.e., tendons, muscle), you may want to head straight into an urgent care clinic because they have staff and equipment that is more sophisticated than what most doctors have on hand. They can also provide medications like antibiotics and tetanus shots that are probably unnecessary but may be necessary depending on where exactly your cut is located.

Lacerations are jagged cuts that happen when a clean slice is not made, as happens with scalpels or knives. The vast majority of lacerations are minor and do not require medical attention; it’s best to treat them at home by cleaning out any debris and disinfecting with peroxide and an antibiotic ointment. You can use butterfly bandages on small cuts, but larger cuts need sutures (stitches). If you don’t have access to professional first aid supplies, many antiseptic sprays double as sterilizers.


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