Cutting or scraping the skin is inevitable throughout the course of everyday life, especially for rambunctious children. Although these are rarely serious issues, it’s not uncommon for parents to take their kids to urgent care for a minor wound—but they don’t always take themselves as often as they should.
Typical scrapes, formally known as abrasions, include stubbed toes, carpet burns, and skinned knees and elbows from a fall. Most abrasions cause very little damage or bleeding, if any, and don’t usually require medical care.
Treatment for a cut in the skin depends on how deep the wound is. While a minor cut may need little more than first aid (cleaning, disinfection, and bandaging), you should go to a doctor for healing deeper wounds, which might require stitches. A cut that shows signs of infection (pain, warmth, redness, swelling, and/or a noticeable discharge) demands immediate medical attention. A significant cut or puncture wound could require a tetanus shot to prevent tetanus and lockjaw.
When Should You Seek Treatment for Cuts or Scrapes?
Whether or not to seek medical attention for a cut or scrape depends on the injury’s shape, severity, location, and risk of infection, as well as whether medical care could potentially improve healing and lessen scarring. When an infant, toddler, or elderly person suffers a minor wound, it’s a good idea to see a doctor no matter what. Generally healthy adults should primarily be concerned with the following factors:
- Embedded dirt in the injury
- Jagged wound shape
- Gaping, open wounds
- Injuries to the face
- Continuous bleeding, even after applying direct pressure to the wound for 10 minutes
- It’s been five years or more since their last tetanus shot
Some of these factors indicate a need for stitches or oral antibiotics. Stitches on the face are usually removed after three days, while stitches in the elbow or other “high-stress” parts of the body may stay in for up to two weeks. In lieu of stitches, your doctor may use adhesive tape, staples, or a type of skin adhesive that works like glue.
If a tetanus shot is necessary, it should be administered within one to three days of the injury for those who did not receive a three-shot series for tetanus as a child, or those who have not had a tetanus booster within the past 10 years. Most people believe a tetanus shot is only necessary when rust is present (for example, after stepping on a rusty nail), but in fact, dirt can lead to tetanus.
Suppose you decide not to seek medical attention for a cut or scrape, then experience adverse issues associated with your injury later. If you notice signs of infection, red streaks near the injury that point to the heart, numbness around the area, a temperature over 100 degrees, or pus discharging from the wound, you should immediately contact a medical professional. In some instances, at-home care is simply not conducive to proper wound healing, so it’s important to know when to seek professional help.
What Keeps People from Seeking Treatment for Minor Wounds?
Most adults don’t view minor injuries as a big deal, and they may not be aware of the potential complications that can arise from deep wounds and infections. Others believe they know how to treat cuts and scrapes themselves using home remedies and online advice.
For many, however, inconvenience and cost are the main factors that keep them from taking themselves or their kids to urgent care. People without insurance and with busy work schedules tend to put off seeking medical attention for all but the most serious injuries.
Remedy Can Help
No matter how minor a wound may seem, it’s always worth seeking treatment just in case, and Remedy makes it easy to do so. Our services have many advantages over traditional urgent care visits and doctor appointments. You can schedule a low-wait video visit with a provider on your computer, smartphone, or tablet anytime 24/7—they’ll be able to evaluate your wound and let you know if you should go to a clinic for stiches. Patients in certain regions can also request a same-day house call if they’d rather see a provider in person.We back our services with a 100% satisfaction, money-back guarantee. We accept insurance from most major providers, or you can pay a flat $49 fee for an on-demand video visit if you don’t have coverage. If you need treatment for a scrape or cut, contact Remedyfor high-quality medical care that’s convenient, affordable, and fast.