A puncture wound can be shallow or deep and small or large in size. The treatment usually depends on the severity of the wound as well as the size of the object responsible for creating it. Remember that bleeding control and infection are the main priorities with this type of wound.
Steps in managing a puncture wound
- Remember to stay safe when helping out an individual with a puncture wound. Always practice universal precautions and use protective equipment if on hand.
- Controlling the bleeding is the initial step in caring for a puncture wound. Apply pressure directly on the wound while holding it above the level of the heart about 15 minutes to stop the bleeding. If the bleeding continues, utilize the pressure points. A tourniquet should be avoided unless medical care is delayed for several hours.
- For cases in which the puncture wound occurs on the back, abdomen, thigh, pelvis, chest or if the bleeding could not be stopped, call for emergency support as well as for wounds of any depth on the neck. Remember that sustaining a hole in the chest can result to collapsed lungs. If a puncture wound in the chest is deep, it should be sealed by hand or a dressing that does not allow air to flow. If the condition of the individual worsens after the wound in the chest is sealed, you have to remove the closure.
- When the bleeding stops, cleanse the puncture wound using mild soap and warm water. If the bleeding starts again, apply pressure in the area.
- Wounds that are wide might require stitches. If stitches are needed, bring the individual to the nearest healthcare facility.
- If the puncture wound is small that stitches are no longer required, you can dab on an antiseptic ointment and cover with adhesive bandages.
- Monitor for infection and change the dressing on a daily basis. Make sure that the puncture wound is cleaned every time the dressing is changed. If the wound starts to swell, drain pus or redness radiates away from the site, a doctor should be consulted.
- For pain relief, pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be used.
Considerations to bear in mind
In case a puncture wound is tainted, a doctor should be consulted right away so that a tetanus injection or booster shot can be given. Any wounds on the feet, those that are hard to clean and those made by animals has a high risk for contamination.
Additionally, the wounds caused by animals might also cause rabies. This is why it is vital to consult a doctor in such cases.