Stitches aren’t something that anyone really wants, but they’re necessary for a cut or laceration that is deep and can’t heal on its own. So, how are you supposed to know if the cut that you or your child has sustained warrants stitches?

Our AFC Urgent Care TN team answers that question below, so read on!

  • Here’s what to do: Check how wide and deep the laceration is. Stitches are necessary if the wound is deeper or longer than half an inch, opens so wide that you can’t get the edges together with just a little pressure or muscle or bone is exposed.
  • What to do after: Monitor how much the cut is bleeding. If it hasn’t stopped bleeding in 10 minutes, even after applying direct pressure for that length of time, seek medical attention.
  • What to do next: Take the location of the cut into account. Lacerations on places like the face, joints, hand, genitals and near the eye increase the likelihood of stitches.
  • After that: Do some basic first aid on the cut. Apply pressure on the laceration, rinse it under running water and put a bandage or gauze on it to keep the bleeding under control before getting stitches.
  • One more thing to keep in mind: The cause of the laceration. For some wounds, like an animal bite or a puncture caused by rusty metal, you may need a tetanus shot as well as stitches.
  • Additionally: Watch out for signs of infection. If there is redness around the laceration, increased swelling, pus, drainage or red streaks spreading out from the wound, visit one of our AFC centers ASAP.
  • Action steps to take: If the cut falls into any of these categories, there is a strong chance that you or your child will need stitches. Visit an AFC center quickly to avoid any further complications, like excess blood loss or infection.
  • Doctor recommendations: Try to stay calm and think clearly when you suffer a wound that bleeds a lot. Also, if something like a nail is stuck in the skin, leave it in until arriving at one of our AFC centers as that may keep the bleeding at bay.

We hope you feel better informed about what kinds of lacerations require stitches! If you still aren’t sure or you need other general medical care, don’t hesitate to visit one of our AFC Urgent Care TN centers today.