How to treat a Punctured Wound?

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puncture wound

A puncture wound is caused by an object piercing the skin and creating a small hole. A few punctures are just on the surface. Some others can be very deep, depending on the source and cause. Puncture wounds are any kind of wound that breaks the skin and goes considerably below the surface. Some common objects that cause puncture wounds are nails, pins, teeth, and bullets. A very serious puncture wound is caused by things such as animal bites and rusty nails. Symptoms of the wound can include pain, bruising, bleeding, and swelling. Since, puncture wound travels deeper into the skin; they must be observed carefully as they become easily infected. Some puncture wounds do not cause much bleeding. Small wounds can probably be treated at home. Wounds that bleed through a bandage need professional medical care.


How do I treat a puncture wound?

The puncture wound is treated with irrigation and scrubbing. The steps to be followed are given below:

  • Scrub hands methodically with soap and disinfected water.
  •  Wear latex gloves to prevent the spread of infectious disease.
  •  A disinfectant solution of 1 oz. povidone-iodine in 1 liter disinfected water is prepared.
  •  It is vital to keep the wound hygienic.
  •  Wash the hands before giving first aid.
  •  In case of minor bleeding, persuade bleeding by pressing lightly on the tissue on either side of the wound with a gloved hand.
  •  Scrub the region around the wound with a nailbrush and disinfectant solution that is kept ready.
  •  Rinse a pair of tweezers carefully with disinfectant solution to disinfect them.
  •  Eliminate all big pieces of dirt, debris, dead skin and flakes of clotted blood from the wound.
  •  Take the disinfectant solution into an irrigation syringe.
  •  The syringe is placed perpendicular to the wound, about 2 to 3 inches above it.
  •  The syringe is tilted towards the wound so that the solution will deluge the wound and drain away from the opening.
  •  The needle is pressed down to release a vigorous stream of solution.
  •  The irrigation process is repeated by rinsing the wound for about three to five minutes.
  •  Repeat the irrigation process several times to give the wound a methodical cleaning.
  •  The wound is rinsed copiously with disinfected water, as the disinfectant solution may cause irritation to the skin, if present.
  •  The area around the injured person is checked to ensure that the patient’s skin is not exposed to disinfectant solution for an extended period of time.
  •  After cleaning the wound, apply a thin layer of an antibiotic cream or ointment such as Neosporin or Polysporin to help keep the surface moist. These products will not make the wound heal quicker, but they can depress infection and allow the body to close the wound more competently. If a rash appears, stop using the ointment.
  •  Cover the wound with a clean bandage.
  •  Keep the bandage clean and dry.
  •  Change the bandage everyday or change it if it gets damp or wet.
  •  Wash the wound on a daily basis. Soak it in warm water for 10 to 20 minutes.
  •  Do not swim with a puncture wound.
  •  Do not wash the wound, if the wound is large and bleeding as it requires professional medical care.
  •  Get a tetanus shot if required.


What are the medicines that help prevent any fever or pain associated with the wound?

Some of the medicines that are used to treat fever or pain associated with the puncture wound are:

  •  Acetaminophen, such as Tylenol or Panadol.
  •  Ibuprofen, such as Advil or Motrin
  •  Naproxen, such as Aleve or Naprosyn
  •  Aspirin, also a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as Bayer or Bufferin.


What are the symptoms that require medical attention?

The following symptoms indicate that a person needs medical help:

  •  Any cut that goes further than the top layer of skin or is deep enough to see into, especially punture from a large object like a tree branch or knife might need stitches (sutures), and should be seen by a physician as quickly as possible. Usually, the sooner sutures are put in, the lower the risk of infection.
  •  Puncture in the chest can lead to collapsed lungs. Deep puncture wounds to the chest should be immediately closed by hand or with a dressing that does not let air flow.
  •  In case of, Uncontrollable bleeding
  •  Swelling
  •  Redness
  •  Pus
  •  Bad smell
  •  Red streaks coming from the wound
  •  In case if one thinks that the debris remains in the wound.
  •  An infected area may feel warm or become very painful.
  •  Also, people with less immune systems, including diabetics, cancer patients on chemotherapy, people who take steroid medications, or people with HIV are more likely to develop a wound infection and should be seen by a healthcare professional.
  •  Most doctors prefer that patients come to them if an object is stuck in a puncture wound.


How long it takes for the wound to heal?

The healing time depends on the depth of the wound. Normally, it takes 2 days to 2 weeks to heal.  

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