When to go to the ER or Urgent Care for Cuts and Scrapes
When it comes to cuts and scrapes, our bodies can take quite a beating over the years. Luckily most of the incidents we will experience will be minor injuries which won’t require medical attention.
However, there will be instances where we might not be sure if we need medical attention or not, and if we do where should we go for treatment, the Emergency Room or an Urgent Care center?
How to Tell If Your Cut or Scrape Requires Medical Attention?
Scrapes can usually be treated at home with the use of an antibiotic ointment and a thorough cleaning. Determining if your cut is deep enough to warrant seeing a doctor, however, is not always easy, but, we can safely say that your wound will require stitches and possibly other medical attention when:
- The cut is deeper than a ¼ inch and gapping or jagged
- The cut was made by a dirty or rusty object
- Fat, muscle, bone or other deep body structures are visible through the wound
- The cut is over a joint and continues to open every time you move the joint
- After 10-15 minutes of applying direct pressure, the cut is still bleeding
If you feel your injury requires medical attention, then you should know that the sooner you see a doctor, the better. You should be checked by a medical practitioner preferably within a few hours of being injured, as this will help reduce the risk of infection and minimize scarring.
If your cut was caused by a dirty or rusty object, you will require a tetanus shot if you haven’t had one within the past five years. Tetanus is a disease caused by bacteria that is transmitted through open cuts or wounds.
So, how can you know if your wound can be treated at an urgent care center or if you need to go to the emergency room instead? Here is a helpful guide to help you make an informed decision:
Visit Altus Emergency Centers When:
- You have a deep gaping wound where muscles, veins, subcutaneous fat or bone are exposed
- Your injury has cut through a major vein or artery, and the bleeding won’t stop
- The cut is over a joint
- The edges of the cut are jagged and uneven
- It’s a deep or long facial laceration
- You have an object embedded in the wound (don’t try to remove it on your own, this should always be done by a physician)
- A partial or complete amputation such as a severed finger or any that has resulted in the partial or full removal of an appendage or tissue from on your body
- You’ve sustained a scalp cut
Visit an Urgent Care Center When:
- The cut requires stitches, but the edges are straight, and even that can easily be pushed together
- Shallow facial cuts
- Cuts and scrapes that are embedded with dirt
- Minor animal or human bites
- Non-life-threatening wounds that were caused by a dirty or rusty object
An urgent care is good for a minor emergency. However, you can save time, money and a great deal of pain by knowing when to go directly to the emergency room. To learn more about the different types of Cuts & Scrapes and Treatments, Cuts and Scrapes.