Puncture Wounds: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

A puncture wound

A puncture wound can happen anywhere on your body. These wounds tend to be narrower and deeper than cuts.

A puncture wound is usually left open instead of being closed. This is because a puncture wound can be easily infected, and closing it can make infection even more likely.

You will probably have a bandage over the wound.

The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Keep the wound dry for the first 24 to 48 hours. After this, you can shower if your doctor okays it. Pat the wound dry.
  • Don't soak the wound, such as in a bathtub. Your doctor will tell you when it's safe to get the wound wet.
  • If your doctor told you how to care for your wound, follow your doctor's instructions. If you did not get instructions, follow this general advice:
    • After the first 24 to 48 hours, wash the wound with clean water 2 times a day. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing.
    • You may cover the wound with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a non-stick bandage.
    • Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed.
  • Prop up the sore area on pillows anytime you sit or lie down during the next 3 days. Try to keep it above the level of your heart. This helps reduce swelling.
  • Avoid any activity that could cause your wound to get worse.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new pain, or your pain gets worse.
  • The wound starts to bleed, and blood soaks through the bandage. Oozing small amounts of blood is normal.
  • The skin near the wound is cold or pale or changes colour.
  • You have tingling, weakness, or numbness near the wound.
  • You have trouble moving the area near the wound.
  • You have symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness around the wound.
    • Red streaks leading from the wound.
    • Pus draining from the wound.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • The wound is not closing (getting smaller).
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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