What are Lacerations and Cuts?
A cut is a wound which breaks the skin, typically due to unexpected trauma from a sharp object. While most people have experienced what it’s like to get a minor cut, lacerations can be deeper and more irregular in shape, often characterized by jagged edges and possible bruising or bleeding.
Though slightly different from one another, the words “laceration” and “cut” are often used interchangeably.
A cut can happen at any time skin contact is made with either sharp objects (which slice the skin open) or blunt force (which usually tear the skin open). In most cases, cuts occur without warning and during normal daily activities such as cooking/cleaning, operating machinery or playing sports.
What are the Signs of Lacerations & Cuts?
Most cuts and lacerations make themselves obvious both visually and symptomatically. In addition to usually being able to see a cut as soon as it happens, symptoms may include the following:
- Pain (mild to severe depending upon the injury)
- Skin discoloration
With severe lacerations and cuts, prompt treatment is essential for preventing complications. See a doctor right away if you or a family member experience any of the following associated with a cut or laceration:
- Bleeding that cannot be stopped
- Blood spurting out of the wound
- Cuts or lacerations to the eye
- Partially severed fingers/toes
- Signs of shock (such as weak pulse, clammy skin, rapid breathing)
Diagnosing & Treating Lacerations & Cuts
The first step in treating a cut or laceration is to stop the bleeding as soon as possible. The wound should be cleaned with soap and water, and pressure should be applied to a clean cloth. Once controlled, a visit to ConvenientMD or other medical provider is recommended to prevent infection.
After a physical examination has been performed, the cut or laceration will be thoroughly cleaned and evaluated. Wounds will be treated based on the providers recommendations (suture/wound adhesive/staples/pressure dressing). to ensure it does not re-open. If the wound is red or shows signs of infection, antibiotics may be used as a treatment option. Be sure to mention if the wound resulted from an animal or insect bite. A tetanus shot update may be in order.
For children needing treatment for cuts or open wounds, a tetanus shot update may be in order. Tetanus shots are typically good for ten years, although deep lacerations may call for a tetanus shot update if the last one was given more than five years ago.
Get Treated at ConvenientMD!
Cuts and lacerations can be more than just painful annoyances—they can lead to serious infection if not treated quickly and appropriately. We see cuts of all kinds at ConvenientMD, and our staff is well-equipped to help patch you up so that you can get on with the rest of your day. The sooner you stop in; the sooner your cut or laceration will heal.
Visit any of our urgent care centers to get treated today—there’s no need to make an appointment!