Have you ever wondered if a wound was bad enough to see the doctor? Does it need stitches? Do I need a tetanus shot? What if it gets infected? Should I wrap it or leave it open to the air? These questions are best answered by the experts.
The best resource you have for wound care is your neighborhood Advance ER. “We’ll be happy to take a look at your laceration and let you know if it needs stitches or other treatment,” said Advance ER physician Dr. Thomas Allen. “
Wounds by the Numbers
Here are some descriptions of different types of wounds:
- Abrasions – a common name for this is “road rash”. It is caused by a rubbing, scraping motion across the skin. Severe abrasions from any kind of vehicle accidents or from high rates of speed could require medical attention.
- Lacerations – when the skin is cut by something sharp. A laceration can be deep and involve several layers of tissue and severe bleeding, requiring medical attention. Put pressure on the wound to try to control the bleeding as you go to the nearest Advance ER.
- Punctures – a foreign object that breaks and enters the skin. Animal teeth or claws, nails, metal stakes or sharp objects can puncture the skin. Puncture wounds require medical attention. If possible, leave the object in the skin and go to Advance ER right away.
- Cut or incision – a sharp object can cause an incision that can damage tendons, ligaments and more. Cuts that are deep and bleed a lot require medical attention. Apply pressure to the wound as you go to the nearest Advance ER.
- Skin tear – when the skin is stretched and pulls apart. A skin tear is also known as an avulsion. Avulsions can occur during serious accidents or violent incidents such as explosions or gunshot wounds. Skin tears can be serious and require medical attention.
Do I Need a Doctor for My Wound?
“Patients sometimes second-guess themselves about coming to the ER with a wound. But I tell them it’s crucial to have a laceration or an open wound treated properly and quickly to prevent infection and more serious complications down the road,” said Dr. Allen.
You should see an Advance ER physician immediately if your wound is:
- Deep incision of more than ½ inch
- Open wound
- Bleeding that doesn’t slow down with direct pressure
- Severely bleeding
- Bleeding that lasts longer than 20 minutes
- Caused by a serious accident
- Caused by a puncture
- Caused by an animal bite or scratch
- Caused by a snake bite
Warning signs of an infected wound:
- Dark and dry area
- Wound grows in size or doesn’t heal
- Drainage increases
- Pus forms – green, yellow, brown or cloudy; can have a strong odor
- Sore lump in armpit or groin
“If you experience any of these symptoms of an infection, come to Advance ER right away,” said Dr. Allen. “The nice thing about Advance ER is that we are always open and ready to help any time you are injured.”
How Do I Care for My Wound?
If your wound is bleeding heavily, you need to try to reduce the bleeding and find someone to drive you to the nearest Advance ER. Use a clean cloth to put constant pressure on the wound.
If it is a puncture wound and the foreign object is still embedded, do not remove it and do not apply pressure. If possible, go to Advance ER and let the physician treat you. If the object is too large, call 911 and wait calmly for medical help to come to you.
“Once you get to Advance ER, your physician will conduct the initial treatment for your laceration or wound,” said Dr. Allen. “From there, you will need to keep it clean and dry, change the bandages, give it exposure to air and follow the doctor’s other instructions carefully. Once it is stabilized, the risk of infection drops rapidly.”
Initial treatments for wounds include:
- Wound cleaning – flushing it out, getting all the dirt and foreign objects out
- Stitches – closing the skin with either sutures, skin glue or staples, after numbing the skin
- Tetanus shot – may be needed to prevent tetanus disease, also known as lockjaw
- Penicillin or antibiotic – may be prescribed to prevent infection
- Pain reliever – for severe injuries
Advance ER is Ready to Help You
At Advance ER, you’ll receive immediate treatment from a board-certified physician with over 15 years of experience. Our concierge service and VIP treatment will help you relax and recover from your injury. You will enjoy the comforts of your private room and our hospitality menu offers an array of cold beverages and snacks. Our friendly staff are experts at helping you start to feel better again.
Advance ER is available in two locations for your convenience:
Advance ER – Galleria Area
Advance ER – Park Cities
Advance ER – the right care at the right place at the right time.
Meet Dr. Allen:
Thomas Allen, M.D., FACEP, is board-certified in emergency medicine. He received his medical degree from Oregon Health Science University, Portland, OR. He completed his internship at the Legacy Health Systems’ Emanuel and Good Samaritan Hospitals, Portland, OR, and his residency at the University of Texas at Houston Herman Hospitals, Houston, TX.
Dr. Allen has been practicing for over two decades. He and his family are active in their Dallas community and love being a part of the neighborhood.
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