If you or a loved one has experienced a wound or laceration, you may be in shock and wondering whether to go to the emergency department or urgent care. Treatment for wounds all depends on the location and the size of the cut.
Should I Go to the ED or Urgent Care?
Different kinds of injuries lead to different kinds of wounds including abrasions, lacerations, crush wounds, puncture wounds and avulsions. For something that is less than three inches, the patient can come to eMedical Urgent Care for immediate care and treatment. If the cut is longer than three inches or extremely deep, tendon or deep tissue may be damaged. In those cases, go to the ER so they can give more intensive repair including a possibly surgery.
At-Home Wound Care
For bleeding lacerations, before you make your way to urgent care or the ER (based on the location and size mentioned above), the first thing you should do is to apply direct pressure. Place a clean rag or gauze on the cut and hold pressure. If you can’t control the bleeding, don’t take the bandage off; rather, keep that one on and put another one on top. Ice can also be helpful in stopping the bleeding and can decrease swelling as well. If the wound is dirty, wash it with warm water and soap to remove any large particles of dirt and debris. Also, keep the injury elevated above the heart level to slow the bleeding. For treatment of wounds less than three inches, go to eMedical Urgent Care for a physical evaluation, proper cleaning of the cut and possible suture repair. However, if the bleeding “pulses,” this could indicate an artery has been cut, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Keep Wounds Clean and Dry
The best way to take care of a suture wound is to keep it clean and dry. When an area is wet, it doesn’t heal as well. If a bandage or it gets wet or dirty, change it. Also, watch for signs of redness, swelling or discharge which could indicate a sign of infection. Sunlight can inhibit the healing process, so keep the area covered and protected from ultraviolet light. If the cut doesn’t require stitches, the best at-home wound care is washing the area with soap and water regularly to clean out any germs. Put small amounts of antibiotics ointment on the wound to speed up the healing process as well. It’s important to keep the area clean and dry to prevent scarring or infection.
Dog, cats and human bites are considered puncture wounds and can introduce bacteria into the wound. This can lead to infection, so antibiotics are typically prescribed. If the bite was from a wild animal such as bats, snakes or rabid dogs, you may need a rabies vaccination from the ED.
Tetanus is a bacteria that is found in dirt. If a victim is cut by a rusty nail, fence other questionable object, tetanus is commonly a concern. Adults should have a tetanus shot every 5 years to stay protected. eMedical Urgent Care conveniently offers the tetanus shot; in fact, the vaccine most commonly given in our offices is a combination of Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis, called the TDaP vaccine.
If you need medical attention for a non-life-threatening illness or injury, eMedical Urgent Care is open during the evening and weekend hours to treat walk-in patients. Treatment for wounds, cuts and lacerations is available at eMedical Urgent Care in Middletown and Berkeley Heights, NJ.