Puncture wounds are types of wounds that involve small but deep holes in the skin and possibly in the underlying tissues. Puncture wounds are usually caused by sharp objects capable of penetrating the skin like needles, pins, nails, and the likes. These wounds don’t bleed much but can cause internal injury and are more prone to infection, thus proper wound care is important. Make sure to apply proper puncture wounds first aid immediately after the incident.
First, we should assess if the wound is a major puncture or a minor puncture. A minor puncture would normally involve small objects affecting the extremities like arms, hands, legs, and feet. A major puncture involves large objects or punctures in body parts other than the extremities where there is risk of internal injury.
Signs of serious injury may involve blood pumping vigorously (artery injury), numbness or tingling in the limb (nerve injury), or difficulty moving the limb (tendon injury). If you see these signs, remember these:
- Don’t attempt to clean as it may cause more bleeding
- Don’t attempt to probe or remove embedded object
- If bleeding heavily, apply direct pressure
- Seek medical attention
If it seems to be a minor puncture, apply the following first aid treatment.
Puncture Wounds First Aid
Let it bleed
Unless it is bleeding heavily (see major puncture), don’t apply pressure. Let the wound bleed to remove foreign material.
Clean the Wound
Wash with soap under running water (make sure your hands are clean first).
Treat the Wound
Apply povidone-iodine (e.g. betadine) on the wound instead of antibiotic creams/ointments.
Protect the Wound
Bandage the wound loosely and never seal the wound as it may increase the chance of infection.
Monitor the Wound
Watch daily for any sign of infection like swelling, extensive redness, formation of pus, and fever. If there is infection or if the wound hasn’t healed in 2 weeks, seek medical attention.
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