How to Know If Your Wound Requires Medical Attention

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How to Know If Your Wound Requires Medical Attention

Cuts, scrapes, and puncture wounds are common, especially when you live an active lifestyle. Sustaining a cut on your hand or an abrasion on your leg isn't usually anything to worry about – but what about other wounds?

Some wounds are more severe than others, especially with an underlying health condition like peripheral vascular disease or diabetes. These wounds may not heal correctly and become infected quickly.

When you're unsure if your wound requires treatment, the team at Calvary Urgent Care provides a quick evaluation and treatment if necessary. Dr. Joseph Goin is our urgent and primary care specialist who offers expert wound care for various cuts, scrapes, and open sores.

Different types of wounds

A wound is any type of open break in the skin. There are many different types of wounds that you can get just about anywhere on the body. Most minor wounds aren't a reason to worry, but others require medical treatment.

Wounds can be acute or chronic, depending on the cause of the open area. Acute wounds happen suddenly from a traumatic injury. In contrast, chronic wounds develop over time, usually from underlying problems in the body.

Various types of wounds exist, each presenting a different challenge to your health. The common types of wounds we see include the following:

  • Cuts
  • Lacerations
  • Abrasions
  • Diabetic ulcers
  • Animal bites
  • Puncture wounds
  • Surgical wounds
  • Venous stasis ulcers
  • Non-healing wounds
  • Avulsions

The above wounds can be severe or mild, depending on several factors, including your underlying health. You can usually treat minor to moderate wounds at home by cleaning them out, keeping them dry, and applying a dressing as needed.

If you're taking proper care of your wound, it should begin to heal within a few days of injury. However, if it doesn't seem to be healing, it's a good idea to seek professional care.

When does a wound require medical attention?

Although many cuts and scrapes are minor, some require medical attention. How do you know which is which? We recommend seeking treatment for any of the following wounds:

  • Cuts over any joint
  • Deep or jagged wounds
  • Long cuts that may need stitches
  • Wounds that won't stop bleeding
  • Cuts on the face or head
  • Animal or human bites
  • Cuts with nerve or tendon damage
  • Wounds caused by a crush injury
  • Wounds with a broken bone
  • Puncture wounds or cuts from a metal object

You may also need to seek medical attention for an infected wound. Common signs of an infection include redness, warmth, and swelling around the wound. If the infection becomes systemic, you may also have a fever and chills.

Seeking care for a wound in any of the above circumstances is critical to its ability to heal and infection prevention. Without the proper care, you could sustain life-long issues with the wound and underlying tissues.

Do I need emergency care?

Some wounds require immediate emergency care to prevent life-threatening consequences. We suggest you call 911 immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Bleeding is steady and continues with applied pressure
  • The wound involves the eyeball
  • Wounds that involve an amputation or partial amputation
  • An abdominal wound
  • A chest or neck wound causing severe bleeding
  • Signs of shock begin

Shock may set in with deep wounds or those that bleed a lot. Common signs of shock include clammy or cool skin, shallow breathing, or a rapid heartbeat.

Anytime you sustain a severe wound, it's essential to seek care right away. The first steps are to apply pressure to the wound and call for help immediately.

At Calvary Urgent Care, we treat a variety of wounds. Dr. Goin carefully evaluates each wound to provide specific care for optimal healing. He also provides wound debridement, antimicrobial ointments, and wet-to-dry dressings to help with healing.

To schedule a wound care visit today, call our Humble, Texas practice at 832-680-2273 or request an appointment on our website.