We’ve all had a small cut before. They aren’t fun, but they are easy to clean, put a band-aid on and take care of at home. But when is a cut serious enough that it requires a trip to the emergency room?
One of the top reasons we see patients here in the emergency room is for cuts. But the truth is, not all cuts require a visit to the ER. When it comes to cuts, here are a few instances where I would recommend a quick visit to Beaumont Emergency Center.
ER Trip Recommended, if…
- If your cut is deep and exposes the deeper layers of your skin gaping open
- You can’t push the edges together with gentle pressure
- Located on or across a joint from an animal or human bite
- Caused by a foreign object impaling the area
- Made by a high-pressure impact such as a gunshot wound
- Is due to a very dirty or rusty object
- Refusing to stop bleeding
- On the face or on or near your genitalia
Even If you make the decision to come in, there are things you should consider prior to your visit to the ER because of a laceration.
Important Things To Rember
- Leave foreign objects alone If you have been impaled by something, leave it in and let the doctors take care of it. You can not be sure how much damage the object has caused and removing it has the potential to cause even more damage with devastating consequences.
- Bites and dirty wounds need special treatment
- If you’ve been bitten or if your cut was caused by something contaminated or rusty, seek out an ER immediately.
- If you haven’t had a tetanus booster in the last 10 years, plan on receiving one during your visit.
Cleaning The Wound
Clean the wound if you can If possible, gently clean the lacerated area before you arrive. You can use tap water with liquid antibacterial soap Avoid other cleaning agents since they have the potential to cause damage tissue. Do not apply topical antibiotics such as Neosporin and Bacitracin since they will eliminate the option to use surgical glue when appropriate
Stop The Bleeding
Lastly, be sure to elevate the wound and apply pressure on the way to the ER. The goal here is to slow or stop as much bleeding as possible. Chances are if you suffer a laceration of any kind that it will be minor enough to care for at home. Keep it clean and covered and be sure to keep an eye on it. Should you begin to suspect or see signs of infection, seek medical help immediately.
Don’t Eat Or Drink Anything
Something else to consider is avoiding anything to eat or drink before arriving at the ER. There is a chance, depending on the severity of your wound that sedation will be necessary. Many times this is to help smaller children remain still during suturing. So, until you are sure that sedation is not required, wait to eat or feed your child.
We obviously hope you avoid any cuts whatsoever, but should disaster strike, rest easy and know that I, along with our team of ER doctors and nurses are here 24/7 at Beaumont Emergency Center are ready to deliver the quickest and the best treatment available