If you tear your skin, muscle and/or tissue, you can’t slap a Band-Aid on the cut and hope for the best. You need to be careful about the steps you take, as the decisions you make directly following your injury will impact your recovery.
When it comes to a deep laceration, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You may be able to treat the wound at home, but if you ignore professional help when you need it, you could end up in a worse position.
Here are some of the many types of wounds that may require medical repair:
- Exposed bone, tendon, fat or muscle
- If any debris or dirt remains in the wound after cleaning
- A feeling that there is something deep inside the wound that needs to be removed
- Uneven edges
- Bleeding that you can’t stop, especially after 10 to 15 minutes of pressure
- A depth of 1/8 inch or more
- A laceration on a high-stress area of your body, such as joints or chest
- A laceration in an area where scarring is a concern, such as your face
Immediately following a laceration injury, place pressure on the wound and elevate it above your heart if possible. If the bleeding stops, run cool tap water over the cut.
While you’re treating the laceration yourself, you should also plan your move to a local hospital. Depending on the severity, you may need to call 911 or have a co-worker do so for you.
Depending on the severity and location of the laceration, you may be unable to make an immediate return to work. This should lead you to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.