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The Dangers of Puncture Wounds: Possible Complications and Treatments You Might Need

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The Dangers of Puncture Wounds: Possible Complications and Treatments You Might Need

If you've ever stepped on a sharp object, you know how painful a puncture wound can be. But the danger with some puncture wounds is that they don't bleed much, so it can be easy to downplay their seriousness.

If you have a puncture wound, there are potential complications, and you should take steps to prevent infection. You might not think a little cut could do much damage, but a puncture wound could become a severe health condition if left untreated.

Causes and Complications of Puncture Wounds

Puncture wounds are characterized as deep, narrow wounds that penetrate the skin.

Objects that can cause puncture wounds usually include:

  • Nails
  • Needles
  • Splinters
  • Glass
  • Animal bites

Puncture wounds also have a higher risk of becoming infected than other types of injuries because they lay out a direct pathway for bacteria to enter the body.

puncture wound

If not treated, this type of injury can lead to severe complications, including:

Infection: When bacteria enter the body through a puncture wound, it can cause an infection. Symptoms of an infected puncture wound include redness, swelling, and pain. 

Tetanus: Tetanus is a severe bacterial infection that can be deadly. Tetanus is often found in soil and contaminated metal objects like nails and needles. If it has been ten years since your tetanus shot, you risk developing this infection.

Blood poisoning: Also called sepsis, blood poisoning occurs when an infection spreads through the bloodstream. This is a severe condition that can be life-threatening. Symptoms of blood poisoning include fever, chills, and low blood pressure.

Nerve or organ damage: If a puncture wound is deep enough, it can damage the nerves or organs underneath the skin. That can cause paralysis, loss of sensation, or organ failure.

Amputation: In severe cases, and if prompt medical attention is not received, a puncture wound can cause the loss of a limb.

Puncture Wound Treatments

If you have a puncture wound, it's essential to clean and protect the area. Doing this will help prevent infection and other complications.

How to treat a puncture wound at home:

1. Clean the wound

Wash with warm water and soap, but do not scrub the wound, as this can damage the tissue.

2. Try to stop the bleeding

Apply pressure using a clean cloth. If blood flow is heavy and continues after 15 minutes, call 911.

3. Apply an antibiotic ointment

This will help prevent infection.

4. Cover the wound

Place a sterile bandage over the wound. Change the wound dressing once a day or whenever it gets wet or dirty.

When to See a Doctor for Puncture Wound Treatments

In most cases, puncture wounds can be treated at home. But there are some instances when seeing a doctor for treatment becomes vital.

You should see a doctor if:

  • The wound is more than a quarter-inch deep.
  • You can’t remove the object from the injury.
  • You have diabetes.
  • The wound is on your face.
  • You have symptoms of infection.

Baptist Emergency Room & Urgent Care

Get Prompt Medical Care From Baptist Emergency Room & Urgent Care

Puncture wounds can be dangerous if they’re not treated properly. If you believe your puncture wound is not healing correctly, it’s essential to seek prompt medical care. At Baptist Emergency Room & Urgent Care, we can provide the right puncture wound treatments to promote healing and prevent infection.

Baptist Emergency Room & Urgent Care's emergency room is open 24/7, and urgent care is available from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. Appointments are unnecessary - walk in, and our healthcare professionals are ready to help at both of our locations.

Navarre - 8888 Navarre Pkwy., Navarre, FL 32566. Call the center at 850-750-5698.

Nine Mile - 9400 University Parkway Suite 101A Pensacola, FL 32514. Call the center at 448-227-4600.

Baptist Emergency Room & Urgent Care is comprised of board-certified ER-trained physicians and professionally trained ER nurses who deliver quality medical care. Our urgent care and emergency room can effectively treat various medical conditions. From fever to fractures, allergies to abdominal pain, and colds to concussions, we have you covered with on-site labs, CT, X-rays, and ultrasound.