Doctor cares for wound on knee

When Your Cut Needs Stitches

When your skin, the body’s first line of defense, is broken, bacteria and germs can enter. The longer a cut remains exposed, the higher the risk of infection. Make sure to take proper first aid action, and know when to visit an emergency center for stitches. Know how to determine whether your cut needs stitches.

What To Do When You Get Cut

  1. Gently rinse the wound under cool tap water
  2. Pinch the sides of the wound together if needed
  3. Apply pressure with a non-fluffy pad to stop bleeding
  4. Protect wound with an adhesive dressing

If a broken bone is protruding through the skin or the cut is accompanied with injury to the head, neck, or back, call 911 and do not move or touch the injury site.

When To Seek Medical Attention

Medical attention and stitches, staples, or skin adhesives may be needed if:

  • The cut is more than ¼ inch deep and gapes open
  • The wound has jagged edges
  • The cut reaches the fat, muscle, or bone
  • The wound opens with movement
  • Scarring may be an issue
  • The bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes of applied pressure
  • An object is embedded in the wound
  • The wound was the result of a bite

If your last tetanus shot occurred over ten years ago, you may need to visit a physician to receive the vaccination. If your wound is dirty or was caused by an unclean object, your physician may recommend a tetanus vaccination if you have not had one in the past five years.

If your wound increases in pain, redness, or swelling or has pus, it might be infected. Visit a physician or the nearest emergency center depending on its severity.

Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/tc/cuts-when-stitches-are-needed-topic-overview
http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/1048.aspx?CategoryID=72&
http://firstaid.about.com/od/softtissueinjuries/a/06_stitches.htm