How To Treat A Laceration

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How To Treat A Laceration

How To Treat A Laceration

Treating a bleeding cut can be difficult and sometimes a little scary.  Here are some guidelines to will help you.  It's important to recognize exactly what kind of wound you are treating. This is a basic list of the different wound types.

  • Incision - A clean cut, such as by a razor, knife or shard of glass.

  • Laceration - A rough, irregular wound caused by a crushing blow, tear or some other impact.

  • Abrasion - A grazing wound, such as a scrape, usually caused by a skidding fall on a rough surface.

  • Puncture - A wound such as is caused by a nail or needle type of object.

  • Penetration - A stab wound, such as made by a knife.


Let's start with (perhaps) the most potentially damaging wound: Gunshot. As a rule of thumb, gunshot wounds must be treated at your local emergency department.  There's another way to classify wounds. Depending on the healing time of a wound, it can be classified as acute or chronic.  Those classified as acute wounds heal uneventfully (with no complications) in the predicted amount of time. Those classified as chronic wounds take a longer time to heal and might have some complications.  In this article, we will discuss only acute wounds.

Wounds can be open or closed.  Open wounds are wounds with exposed underlying tissue and/or organs that are open to the outside environment (like penetrating wounds).  Closed wounds have damage that occurs without exposing the underlying tissue and organs (non-penetrating wounds).

Another way to classify wounds is whether or not the wound is clean or contaminated. Clean wounds have no foreign materials or debris inside, whereas contaminated wounds or infected wounds might have dirt, fragments of the causative agent, bacteria or other foreign materials.  A contaminated or infected would can have serious consequences.  If the cut appears to be infected or contaminated, you might want to stop by Brookside Urgent Care Center right away to have it examined by a board-certified provider.  Most people think Brookside Urgent Care Center only provides medical care.  Yet, peace of mind may be the most important service we provide.

There are some circumstances that indicate that you should seek professional medical attention. Other signs that would indicate that you should seek urgent medical treatment – either at Brookside Urgent Care Center or ER include:

  • A wound that has clearly penetrated through multiple layers of tissue

  • A cut or scrape that will not stop bleeding after 5 minutes of applied pressure

  • Any kind of wound where blood is pulsing out of it


If none of these signs are apparent, you may be able to treat the condition at home with proper steps.  Again, if blood spurts or continues flowing after continuous pressure, seek medical assistance immediately.

Here are some tips on treating cuts, scrapes, abrasions, etc. at home according to the Mayo Clinic:

Stop the bleeding. Minor cuts and scrapes usually stop bleeding on their own. If they don't, apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or bandage. Hold the pressure continuously for 20 to 30 minutes and if possible elevate the wound.

  1. Cleanse the wound.  Rinse the wound with just clear water.  If dirt or debris remains in the wound after washing, use tweezers cleaned with alcohol, to remove the particles.  If debris still remains, seek medical help.

  2. Apply an antibiotic.  After you clean the wound, apply a thin layer of an antibiotic cream or ointment such as Neosporin or Polysporin to help keep the surface moist and prevent infection.

  3. Cover the wound.  Bandages can help keep the wound clean and keep harmful bacteria out.

  4. Change the dressing.  Change the dressing at least twice daily or whenever it becomes wet or dirty.

  5. Get stitches for deep wounds.  A wound that is deep, gaping or jagged edged and has fat or muscle protruding, usually requires stitches.

  6. Watch for signs of infection.  See your doctor if the wound isn't healing or you notice any redness, increasing pain, drainage, warmth, swelling or develop a fever.

  7. Get a tetanus shot.  Doctors recommend you get a tetanus shot once every 10 years.


If you have any concerns at all about the seriousness of the wound, please stop by our center. We are the fast, convenient, professional alternative to hospital emergency departments and primary care doctors.  No appointments are needed – just walk-in and receive excellent care.