Wounds are very common as you participate in life, and minor wounds often only need simple home treatment. The most common wounds are limited to the outer layers of the skin, but some may reach deeper, reaching to underlying organs and tissues. Depending on the site, depth, and cause of a wound, it can be simple and unserious or serious and life threatening.
Different Types of Wounds
External wounds are generally caused by non-penetrating trauma or by penetrating objects. Different types of wounds include:
Non-Penetrating Wounds – These types of wounds generally occur due to friction with other surfaces or as a result of a blunt trauma. Non-penetrating wounds may include:
- Contusions – swollen bruises that occur due to the accumulation of dead cells and blood under the skin
- Abrasions – scraping of the skin’s outer layer
- Lacerations – tear like wounds
Penetrating Wounds – Penetrating wounds are a result of a trauma that breaks through the entire thickness of the skin, reaching to the underlying organs or tissues. Penetrating wounds may include:
- Skin cuts
- Surgical wounds – an intentional cut made to the skin in order to perform surgery
- Stab wounds – trauma that occurs from a sharp object, such as a knife
- Gunshot wounds – a wound from a firearm
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of a wound will depend on the cause, depth, and site of the wound. Generally, wounds present with swelling, pain, loss of function around the area, redness, and bleeding. However, in some cases, particularly if infection occurs, symptoms may also include pus drainage, heat around the wound, and fever.
Potential Wound Complications
Some common wound complications that may occur include:
- Inflammation – Wounds that are inflamed become painful, swollen, difficult to move, red, and hot.
- Loss of Function – If a major nerve, blood vessel, or organ is damaged, a wound can be disabling. The affected area has the potential to lose functionality until the damaged or lost tissue has been repaired.
- Infection – An infected wound may present with swelling, heat, redness, throbbing pain, foul odor, and pus drainage.
- Scarring – Scars may be left behind after a wound heals.
Treatment for Wounds
The treatment for wounds depends on the type and severity of the wound. However, wound treatment always includes cleansing the wound to eliminate foreign materials. Certain wounds may need to be flushed with a medical syringe while others may require surgical debridement to eliminate dead tissues or any foreign materials. Often, a tetanus shot is needed to prevent tetanus.
Proper wound care and dressing is also essential for wound treatment. In some cases, local antibiotics may need to be applied. Treating wounds properly helps prevent infection and other potential complications.
When to Seek Medical Treatment
Although it’s possible to treat minor wounds with home care, some wounds may require medical treatment. Seek medical attention if:
- You have an open wound that is deeper than ½ inch
- The bleeding of a wound lasts for over 20 minutes
- Bleeding doesn’t stop when you apply direct pressure
- The bleeding from the wound has occurred due to a serious accident
- You have an open wound and your last tetanus shot was greater than 5 years ago.
At Pinnacle ER, we’re equipped to deal with all types of wounds, including both penetrating and non-penetrating wounds. If you have a serious wound, visit Pinnacle ER immediately to receive treatment and avoid potential complications.