Skin wounds need thorough cleaning to reduce the risk of infection and scarring and to promote healing. Try to stop the bleeding before cleaning the wound. Mild to moderate bleeding during the cleaning usually occurs. After cleaning, stop the bleeding by applying direct pressure again and elevating the wound. If the bleeding continues, see how to stop bleeding.
A visit to a doctor is needed if you are unable to clean the wound adequately because it:
If you are not going to see your doctor immediately, rinse the wound for at least 5 to 10 minutes.
Large, deep, or very dirty wounds may need to be evaluated by a doctor for a thorough cleaning and evaluation for stitches, or antibiotic treatment. If you think that treatment by a doctor may be needed, see Are Stitches, Staples, or Skin Adhesives Necessary?
If you are going to see a doctor immediately, the wound can be cleaned and treated at the medical facility.
June 6, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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