When to See a Doctor for a Cut or Laceration

Picture this: You’re cutting up vegetables for dinner, the knife slips and you cut yourself on accident.

What do you do? Do you just bandage up the wound and wait for it to heal on its own, or do you visit the doctor for more professional care?

When dealing with cuts, it can be hard to know the answers to these questions, but our AFC Urgent Care Hixson team is here to help you feel better informed about what to do during those types of situations. Read on!

  • Here’s what to do: Check the size of your cut. If your cut or laceration is deeper or longer than half an inch, has ragged edges and/or is deep enough that fatty tissue, muscle or bone is exposed, seek medical attention ASAP as you’ll likely need stitches.

  • What to do next: Monitor the amount the cut is bleeding. A laceration that is heavily bleeding and doesn’t stop after 10 minutes of applying direct pressure likely requires stitches.

  • Something else to consider: The cause of your laceration. Things like animal bites and pointed, rusty metal objects can cause infection, so they will need professional medical attention to be treated correctly.

  • Also: Take the location of your laceration into consideration. Cuts on certain parts of the body, like the joints, hand, near the eye or around the genital area can cause lots of bleeding and will need medical attention to be properly mended.

  • What to do after: If your cut or laceration shows these signs, visit our AFC center right away to avoid infection or excessive blood loss.

  • Additionally: Watch out for signs of infection. If you are experiencing things like red streaks around the laceration, a fever of 100 F or higher, increased swelling, pus or drainage, the cut is probably infected and will need professional medical care.

  • Action steps to take: Following a laceration, there is some basic first aid you can perform to keep the wound intact before heading to the doctor’s office. Things like applying pressure using a clean cloth or bandage, elevating the injured area, rinsing the wound under cold water and covering the laceration with dry gauze or a bandage are all key in keeping the bleeding under control.

  • Doctor recommendations: Even if you still aren’t sure about the severity of your cut, it’s best to seek medical attention. Getting the correct diagnosis from one of our providers will give you peace of mind and will ensure that the wound heals properly.

In need of medical care for your wound? Visit AFC Urgent Care Hixson today!