Open wounds can happen in the blink of an eye. The kids are running around, and suddenly one trips over a rock and lands on the hard pavement. He’s crying, there’s blood everywhere, and you’re freaking out because you’ve never seen so much blood before. You panic and think, “do I need to take him to the ER to get stitches?” Here are 10 signs that you must check to make sure it’s no more serious than a scrape.

Female treats her wound in hand

Do I Need Stitches?

  1. Size of the wound: In terms of depth, if the wound runs deep enough that the skin separates far apart then you may need stitches in order for it to heal. The stitches will bring the two separated edges to come together which will stop the bleeding and connect the skin that had separated.
  2. Location of the wound: If the wound is around a joint like an elbow or knee, you will have to get it checked out by a doctor due to the fact that the wound is in a place where skin stretches when it moves. This can make it difficult for the wound to heal, so stitches will be a big help. Other areas that you should be cautious about are hands, eyes, mouth, and genitals as these areas are very sensitive leading to more complications if left unattended.
  3. Amount of blood loss: The sight of blood can be very unsettling but you have to pay close attention to the amount of blood you see. If the bandage soaks through and you have to replace it multiple times in a short amount of time, then there is too much blood loss. Also, if blood is gushing like water from a broken pipe, then you need to seek the nearest emergency room.
  4. Applying pressure doesn’t stop the bleeding: If you apply direct pressure for more than 10 minutes and the blood hasn’t stopped, that’s another sign your injury requires stitches.
  5. What caused the wound: Seek medical attention if your wound was caused by an animal or human bite, a dirty or rusty object, or a pointed object that has punctured deep into your skin such as a knife or nail. You may need a tetanus shot.
  6. If there is a risk of infection: Signs of infection include swelling, pus, chills, a high-grade fever, pain around the wound, and nausea.
  7. If other visible body structures are exposed because of the wound: If you can see a bone, fatty tissue, or the dermis layer of the skin.
  8. If the wound is on your face: Stitches are great at reducing scarring whether the cut is on your face or any other body part. Most have a greater concern of scarring on the face as it is very visible.
  9. If something (an object) is lodged in the wound: Do not attempt to remove the object, let a professional do it. Removing the object might lead to profuse bleeding that could be life-threatening.
  10. If you are a diabetic: Any wound big or small requires medical attention for a diabetic to ensure proper healing.

Now that I know the signs, what should I do before heading to the ER?

Do I need stitches?

Remember that if you have an object lodged inside, do not remove it. Avoid eating or drinking so that medicine can be administered as soon as possible if needed. Apply pressure directly to your wound with a clean bandage or towel. Keep your wound elevated to ease the amount of bleeding. Apply more bandages as needed until you arrive at the emergency center. If there’s time, clean the wound with water only, anything else might irritate it. Pat dry with a clean towel, never rub.

Stop by any of our 3 locations if you are wondering, do I need stitches? Our Clear Creek emergency room  are ready to assist you at a moment’s notice. At Village Emergency Centers, we strive to provide you and your loved ones quality medical emergency care. Our emergency centers are conveniently open 24/7 and accept walk-ins because we know emergencies are not events that can be planned. Get directions here to visit one of our locations.