Ouch! You cut yourself and it looks pretty bad. Sometimes it is difficult to tell if an open wound needs stitching, which would aid in healing and reduce scarring. If you are not sure whether your wound needs stitching and you want to save yourself an unnecessary visit to the hospital, here are a few tips and methods for you to determine whether your open wound really needs professional treatment.
Part 1 of 2: Reasons to See a Doctor Immediately
Step 1. Try to stop the bleeding as best you can
Raise the injured part of the body above the level of the heart as this can reduce the bleeding. Use a clean cloth or slightly damp kitchen towel to apply firm pressure to the open wound for five minutes. Then remove the towel or kitchen towel and see if you are still bleeding.
- If the wound is bleeding uncontrollably, do not take any further steps and go to the hospital immediately.
- If the wound stops bleeding, read on.
Step 2. Check to see if there is a foreign body in the wound area
If so, you need to see a doctor right away. The reason is the risk of infection and the possibility that you will need stitches.
Do not try to remove the object. Sometimes the foreign body will help keep the wound from bleeding too much. Therefore, you should see a doctor instead of removing it from the wound yourself
Step 3. If the wound was caused by a human or animal bite, see your doctor immediately
These wounds are at a higher risk of infection and you may need prophylactic vaccination whether or not they need stitches. Therefore, you should get professional help immediately.
Step 4. Also consider the part of the body where the wound is
If the wound is on the face, hands, mouth, or genitals, you will need to see a doctor as, for cosmetic reasons and for proper healing of the wound, you may have stitches.
Part 2 of 2: Knowing when to stitch a wound
Step 1. Understand why they are sewing
There are mutliple reasons for this. The most common reasons a wound is stitched are:
- To close a wound too big to be closed otherwise. Sewing the edges of the wounds together can speed healing.
- To prevent infection. If you have a large, gaping wound, suturing can reduce the risk of infection (since broken skin, especially if it is a large, gaping wound, makes it easier for infection to enter the body).
- To prevent or reduce scarring after the wound has healed. This is particularly important when it comes to parts of the body where appearance plays a major role, such as the face.
Step 2. Consider the depth of the wound
If it's deeper than 0.5 cm, it should be sewn. If it's so deep that you can see yellow adipose tissue or even bones, you definitely need to see a doctor for treatment.
Step 3. Consider the width of the wound
Are the edges of the wound close together or do they need to be pulled together to cover the exposed tissue? If the latter is the case, it may be an indication that the wound needs to be sutured. This helps heal by pulling the edges of the wound so close that they touch.
Step 4. Pay attention to the location of the wound
If the wound is in a part of the body that is moving a lot, suturing can help prevent the wound from reopening from the movement and stretching of the skin. For example, an open wound on the legs or fingers (especially the joints) should be sewn, while a wound on the forehead may not.
Step 5. Ask your doctor about a tetanus shot
Tetanus vaccinations are effective for a maximum of ten years and then you will need to be vaccinated again. If you have an open wound and your last tetanus shot was more than ten years ago, go to the hospital.
When you're in the hospital, the doctor can take a look at your wound and decide if it needs stitches
- If you have a problem with scars, go to the hospital for sewing as this will prevent severe scarring and promote proper healing of the wound.
- If you are still not sure whether your wound needs to be stitched and viewed by a doctor, you should go to the hospital to be sure.
- Always go to the hospital if the wound is bleeding uncontrollably or is very dirty.
- Make sure your vaccinations are always up to date so that you can avoid serious infections and illnesses.