In the medical industry, cut or wounds are referred to as lacerations. These are one of the most common types of injuries that people suffer from and experience from time to time. Falling or slipping and grazing your knee, cutting your finger while using a knife, nicking yourself while shaving – these are just some common examples of lacerations.
While these things may result in minor or small wounds, there are other situations that can lead to severe lacerations. Minor lacerations are wounds that only cause minimal pain and very little bleeding. These can easily be treated with a first aid kit that you have stored in your house. However, if the wound that has been sustained profusely bleeds and causes severe pain, it may already require professional, medical services.
Taking Care and Treating Minor Lacerations with First Aid
For minor lacerations, you need to wash the cut immediately afterwards to cleanse it of dirt, debris, and other contaminants. Wood splinters, small stones, or glass shards, when left behind, can cause more problems that can lead to further infection of the wound.
After the cut has been thoroughly cleaned, apply pressure to the affected area by gently and firmly pressing a hand towel or a piece of sanitized gauze on it. Make sure that the pressure is maintained for 5 to 15 minutes, or until you have controlled the bleeding. Also, keep in mind not to remove and look under the towel or the gauze constantly to check it, as this will hinder the blood from clotting and stopping the flow. Just hold the towel or the gauze against the cut for around 15 minutes. After the recommended time, you can check the wound.
Depending on the severity of the injury, you would have to constantly change and refresh the dressing. Another thing to remember is that you may also have to use bandages, which will also depend not only on the extent of the laceration, but also its location. For example, if the wound is located on your arms, you would have to wrap the primary dressing with a bandage so that it will be held in place.
Knowing When to Seek Professional Medical Assistance
If the cut you have sustained appears deep and if the blood has not stopped flowing even after you have performed the first aid treatment discussed above, you may already require professional, medical assistance. The first thing that may come into your mind is to give your doctor a call, but this is not really recommended, seeing that he or she will have a hard time providing you with specific instructions over the phone. You have to go the nearest clinic or hospital to get the proper assistance that you need.
Some questions that will help you determine whether going to the emergency department is really necessary or not include the following: 1.) how profuse the bleeding is 2.) is there debris embedded so deeply into the cut that you cannot remove it, and 3.) can you see tendon or bone through the laceration?
If your answer is yes to all three, then there is no doubt that you need to seek professional medical services as soon as possible.