How to Tell If a Cut Should Be Treated with a Bandage or Stitches 

 March 8, 2017

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A cut can happen in a split second while preparing a meal, working in the yard, or doing many other types of activities. When people get a cut, they usually reach for a bandage, but in some cases professional medical treatment such as stitches is required. Here are some tips to help you figure out whether you can handle a cut yourself by simply covering it with a bandage or whether you should go to the emergency room for stitches. 

Stop the Bleeding and Evaluate the Cut

When you get a cut, the first thing you need to do is to stop the bleeding. Apply gentle pressure with a clean and damp paper towel or cloth. If the cut is minor, the bleeding should stop within five minutes. After the bleeding has stopped, you can inspect the cut. 

When to Treat a Cut with a Bandage

If the skin comes together, you should be able to simply cover the cut with a bandage. A bandage can be used to treat a cut up to ¾ inch long and up to ¼ inch deep. A larger cut may need stitches. 

If the cut can be treated with a bandage, clean it first with water. Apply an antiseptic and then cover it with a bandage in the appropriate size. 

How to Tell If You Need Stitches

If the cut is more severe and has not stopped bleeding within 15 minutes, you will need to go to the emergency room. If the cut is gaping open, you will probably need stitches. You should definitely seek medical treatment if the cut opens up when you stretch the surrounding skin or move your muscles. You should also get treatment if the edges are jagged, chunks of skin are torn, or fat, bone, or flesh is sticking out of the cut. 

If the cut is dirty, you should seek medical help to prevent infection. Go to the emergency room if there is any dirt or debris under your skin or if the cut was caused by an animal bite. 

If you need stitches, go to the emergency room as soon as possible. You will need prompt treatment to prevent infection. The doctor may also use staples, tape, or skin adhesive. Be sure that your tetanus shot is up to date. 

Make Sure You Have a First Aid Kit to Treat Minor Injuries 

You should be prepared to treat minor injuries at home, at work, or in your car by having a first aid kit. It should be stocked with bandages in a variety of sizes, antiseptic, gauze, and other supplies to treat a cut. You should also know when to seek professional medical attention. Order a first aid kit or cabinet from 1st Aid Supplies today.

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