Cuts and lacerations are both types of open skin wounds. Cuts can be caused by sharp objects and result in the severing of connective tissue, while lacerations are caused by blunt trauma and result in more jagged wounds. For the most part, the symptoms and treatment options will be the same.
Symptoms of a cut or laceration include bleeding, a hole or breakage in the skin and localized pain.
Who is at Risk?
Cuts and lacerations can affect anyone, so it is important to wear protective gear and exercise caution when dealing with sharp or fast-moving objects.
Treatment of Mild Lacerations
There are several steps you can take to help treat any kind of open wound:
- Stop the bleeding by applying pressure with a clean cloth
- Clean out the wound with water
- Apply antibiotic ointment (to prevent infection)
- Protect the wound with a bandage
- Look out for signs of infection such as swelling and redness
- Get a tetanus vaccination update (ask your doctor if you need this)
Emergency Warning Signs
Medical attention will be necessary if you are unable to get the bleeding to stop or if the circumstances of the injury dictate a tetanus booster. Also, you should see a doctor if you notice that the wound is separating or opening at the edges, or that some kind of foreign debris is trapped. Warmth, swelling or redness may indicate an infection is present. A physician should examine all but the most minor animal or human bite wounds.