What is the best way to treat a puncture wound and how is it different from lacerations and other types of injuries? What do you need to know and watch out for if you have one of these injuries?
Definition and description of puncture wounds.
Puncture wounds and lacerations can look the same on the surface of the skin. In fact, what matters most is how deep below the surface and which internal organs or tissues are damaged.
Puncture wounds can be deep or shallow, large or small. Treatment depends on the severity of the puncture wound and the size and speed of the object creating it. Also, treatment differs depending on whether the object that created the puncture is in the body or has been removed. An object that protrudes from the skin is called a pierced object. A gunshot wound is a type of stab wound that is created at high velocity and often leaves the object still below the surface.
Animal bites can also take the form of puncture wounds, bringing with them the added complication of possible infection. For puncture wounds, controlling bleeding and infection are top priorities.
Stages of first aid for a puncture wound.
If you know someone with a puncture wound, the first step is to protect yourself.
Once you determine that you are safe with the victim and that you are protected with gloves and glasses, if indicated, follow these steps.
- First of all, stop the bleeding . Pressing directly on the puncture wound, holding it above the heart (if possible) for 15 minutes, should be enough to stop the bleeding. If not, try using pressure points. Pressure points are areas where blood vessels meet near the surface of the skin and include the brachial artery (between the shoulder and elbow), the femoral artery (in the groin along the bikini line), and the popliteal artery (behind the knee). . … Overlapping tourniquets should be avoided unless medical care takes several hours.
- Know when to call 911. Call 911 immediately if you have puncture wounds of any depth to the neck or if a deep puncture wound (or wound of unknown depth) has struck the abdomen, back, pelvis, thigh, or chest . Puncture wounds in other regions, even if they are shallow, should prompt you to call emergency services if the bleeding continues. Holes in the chest can cause the lungs to collapse. Deep puncture wounds to the chest should be covered immediately with an airtight hand or bandage. Victims may complain of shortness of breath. If the victim worsens after closing the puncture wound on the chest, print it.
- When the bleeding has stopped, wash the wound. After the bleeding has stopped, wash the puncture wound with warm water and mild soap (see illustration). If it bleeds again, repeat step two.
- Determine if the wound needs stitches. Wide puncture wounds may require stitches . If the victim needs stitches, go to the emergency room.
- Bandage the wound properly. For small puncture wounds that do not require stitches, use an antiseptic ointment and cover with tape.
- Watch for signs of infection. When you change bandages or the person has a fever, chills, or feels unwell, look for signs of infection. Increased redness, swelling, or discharge, especially purulent discharge, is a sign that you should see your doctor. If redness begins to radiate or separate from the puncture wound, see your doctor immediately.
- Clean and change dressings daily. Clean and change puncture wound dressings (bandages) daily. Every time you change the dressing, you should clean the wound and look for signs of infection.
- Pain relief as needed. Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief as needed, unless there is a reason not to use it (for example, for kidney disease).
Risk of puncture infection / prevention of tetanus
If the puncture wound is contaminated, the victim should see a doctor as soon as possible for a tetanus shot or a booster shot . Foot wounds, those that cannot be cleaned immediately and wounds caused by animals, are associated with a high risk of infection.
Caused by animal bites
Puncture wounds caused by animal bites can also cause rabies. Rabies is a preventable disease that is almost always fatal if symptoms appear. Always consult a doctor about animal bite wounds.
Caused by human bites
Human bite wounds carry a very high rate of infection, much higher than dog bites. Always seek medical attention in the event of a human bite.
Caused by bullets
Gunshot wounds are unpredictable and can be much more serious than it appears. Always call 911 as soon as you are in a safe place. How likely a person will survive a gunshot wound depends on how long it takes to receive emergency medical care. Apply the principles of puncture wound care described above, but if the wound is higher than the chest, do not lift the victim's legs, as this can increase bleeding.
Get the word of drug information
Puncture wounds are somewhat different from lacerations. Sometimes it may not be known if something else is present in the wound, and it is also very difficult to determine the depth of the wound at a glance. For a puncture wound to the chest, back, or pelvis, it is best to call emergency services if the puncture is deep or if you cannot determine the depth. For a neck injury, call 911 regardless of depth.
The above are basic first aid strategies for stopping bleeding and knowing when to call emergency services or seek medical attention. If you are caring for someone who has received a puncture wound, be sure to follow universal precautions and take safety precautions for yourself first. The injured rescuer does little to help the injured victim and can result in two victims.
Puncture wounds should be closely watched. If there is a risk of contracting rabies, vaccinations should be done immediately, as waiting for symptoms to appear is often fatal. Bite wounds of any shape are often infected and should seek medical attention for any of them.