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Cuts & Lacerations

A cut is any wound in which the connective tissue (skin) has separated, while a laceration often implies that the wound is a jagged break in the skin caused by a blunt object. Although cuts and lacerations can be described as different, they are basically the same type of injury as far as diagnosis and treatment. And since most areas of skin are only around 1/8 of an inch thick, and are very susceptible to injury, skin cuts and lacerations are one of the most common injuries treated at urgent care clinics.

If you have a cut, laceration or any break in the skin where bleeding is present, apply pressure with a clean, dry cloth for up to 15 minutes. Visit any AFC clinic to find out if you need stiches, or if your injury can be treated with bandages or tissue glue like Dermabond.

You should schedule an appointment to see a doctor if:

  • The cut is more than 1/2 inch long or 1/4 inch deep
  • The edges of the injury are gaping and separated
  • You cannot stop or slow the bleeding after a reasonable amount of time
  • An object or debris is lodged in the wound

Find Out If You Need A Tetanus Booster

If the object responsible for your injury was rusty, you will most likely want to make sure your wound is properly cleaned, and then find out if a tetanus booster is recommended. Although a tetanus immunization is usually good for 10 years, wounds caused by high-risk objects will often merit a tetanus shot if it has been over 5 years since your last one.

After a cut or laceration has been treated, be sure to look for any signs of infection. If swelling persists, redness spreads or the wound appears to not be healing, you should schedule a follow up visit immediately.