Stepping on a nail or any sharp object can be very painful but beyond the awful feeling, the most important thing to keep in mind in such situations is how to keep the puncture wound from getting infected.
Puncture wounds are often deep but don’t usually cause much bleeding. These characteristics are what make a puncture wound riskier compared to other wound types because the risk of infection is higher.
That being said, it’s important to know and understand how to administer first aid treatment for such a wound, and below are some of the steps you need to follow.
While first aid treatment is available, it is highly recommended to immediately call 911 if the puncture wound leads to the following situations:
If the wound is to the neck, chest, or abdomen
If there is excessive bleeding
If the bleeding refuses to stop after 10 minutes of applying pressure
If it comes with severe pain, vomiting, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and unconsciousness
If the wound is to the eye or throat (make sure not to pull the object out)
Make sure to bring the victim to the nearest hospital or health professional if the wound is touching the bone, the object is dirty, or if the object cannot easily be removed.
Step 1: Remove the object (only if possible)
The first step in treating puncture wounds is to remove the object the caused the puncture. Make sure to take extra precautions and only do so if the object is small and easy to remove. Otherwise, leave it and bring the victim to a healthcare professional.
Step 2: Stop the bleeding
The next step, and perhaps the most important one, is to try to stop the bleeding. You can do this by applying direct pressure using a clean piece of cloth or a sterile gauze until the bleeding stops. If for some reason the bleeding refuses to stop, bring the victim to a healthcare professional.
Step 3: Clean the wound
Once you’ve managed to stop the bleeding, the next step is to clean the wound. Wash the wound using clean water and mild soap for several minutes then apply an antibiotic cream after. Cover the wound with a clean bandage to keep dirt and germs from getting inside and making things worse.
Step 4: Relieve the pain
Depending on the severity of the wound, there may be times when it can be more painful than it should. When this happens, taking a pain reliever would be advisable such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If you have any allergies or medical conditions, make sure to check with your doctor first.
Step 5: Observe
As much as we would like to believe that the first aid treatment we administered was effective, there is always the possibility of infection which is why it’s important to observe the wound for the next couple of days.
If you notice any redness, severe pain, swelling, and pus coming out of it, see a healthcare professional immediately to avoid further complications. Make sure to also check if you need a tetanus shot or if you need to take antibiotics to help the wound heal faster.
Unlike other wound types, a puncture wound requires extra care particularly because it’s prone to infection. Whether you need to go to a doctor immediately or not, knowing the proper first aid treatment will help relieve the pain and reduce the risk of infection.