In the last Medical Minute time we talked about sprains and fractures .  This AFC Urgent Care Medical Minute is a follow up,  addressing injuries to the skin and how you can tell when and if stitches are necessary.

Do I Need Stitches?

It’s not black and white and can be difficult to asses over the phone.  It usually depends. This medical minute will give you tips to assess if you need stitches, what steps you should take  when a bad cut happens, and when you should go to the doctor or emergency room.

First and foremost, you just cut yourself;

What should you do immediately following a bad cut ?

Trying to keep it clean is the most important thing. Soaking it in water helps,  as does  hydrogen peroxide. We recommend only using it the first day of the injury. Please do not keep using hydrogen peroxide, it burns your skin cells and it is not very good for you if you keep using it.

Bacitracin is very helpful, a good antibacterial ointment called Neosporin is available as well, but honestly Vaseline has as much protection and benefits as both of those anti bacterial ointments. The barrier it creates is more important than the antibacterial feature.

Keeping it clean and dry is key. If you’re bleeding a lot, put a lot of pressure on the area where it’s bleeding, and you want to reassess every couple of minutes.  If it keeps bleeding, then you definitely need to be seen by a doctor for that. But depending on the size is going to determine how we treat it.

If its big, deep and wide, you are probably going to need stitches. But we also have other options such as Dermabond,  which is an adhesive glue. It’s similar to Super Glue but made medically safe for your skin. Kids usually tolerate it more than stitches. It depends on where the injury is, how deep it is and how big for whether or not we will use it. We also use something called butterfly tape, also called steri- strips, or other wound bandaging devices we have if we don’t actually have to bring the skin together, mechanically speaking.

Stitches are something that are easily put in;  we numb you up and deliver the stitches. We rarely use dissolvable stitches; usually we like you to come back and get them removed so that we can ensure that you don’t get an infection and that the wound is healing well. The skin is the body’s barrier to infection.

In summary, once you get a cut it’s important to keep it clean and dry. Apply pressure to slow the bleeding. If there is any question if it needs to be sutured come see us, or if the bleeding will not stop, go immediately to the emergency room. We would rather you come in and we tell you that stitches are not needed rather than you staying home and not knowing. Also if the injury is too old sometimes we can’t always suture it,  so  better to come in right after you get cut. We will give you a thumbs up or thumbs down and then go from there.

If you have any more questions or concerns, stop by or give us a call and feel free to come into our urgent care center at 359 North Central Avenue, Hartsdale.

No appointment necessary, but you might want to register online to save time.

Wondering if you have a sprain or a break? Click here