What are lacerations?
Many people use the words ‘cut’ and ‘laceration’ interchangeably, but they aren’t exactly the same. While both indicate a tear in the skin, a cut refers to a clean wound usually made by a sharp object, and a laceration refers to a more jagged or torn wound, sometimes caused by blunt force. These are different from abrasions, which are scrapes that remove skin and will not heal in the same way.
Are cuts and lacerations serious?
Many of the cuts or lacerations people receive are not serious and can be treated at home with basic first aid. Sometimes cuts and lacerations will need some stitching to help aid in the healing process and prevent infection. Reasons to seek medical attention for your cut include:
- If the cut has jagged edges that are unlikely to heal correctly without stitches
- If the wound is gaping open or bleeding excessively
- If the wound is showing signs of infection, such as red streaks, draining yellow pus, or has become tender to the touch
- If the cut or laceration is on your face
- If your cut is deep enough to have possibly severed muscle or tendons, or you can see bone
- If your cut was received at the same time as a puncture wound
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms or situations above, you should seek immediate medical attention. For excessive bleeding, gaping wounds, deep cuts, and signs of infection please seek emergency medical care.
Lacerations and cuts in children
Treatment and need for care are the same in children as with adults.
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