How to Care for a Puncture Wound

Puncture WoundA puncture wound occurs when a sharp,pointed object such as a nail, a jagged piece of metal or a piece of wood pierces the skin. This wound can be deep or shallow; large or small. In fact, a puncture wound does not usually cause excessive bleeding. Treatment for the puncture wound depends on its severity as well as the size and speed of the object responsible for the wound. Treatment is different based on whether the object that caused the wound is still in the body or was removed. Controlling bleeding and reducing the risk for infection are paramount when caring for these wounds.

Treatment for a Puncture Wound

Here are the treatments for a puncture wound.

  • Control Bleeding - Bleeding should be controlled before anything else. Applying gentle pressure directly on the puncture wound, and elevating the injured part above the level of the heart for 15 minutes could help stop the bleeding. If bleeding continues, then try using pressure points. These are areas where blood vessels lie close to the surface of the skin and include the brachial artery (between the shoulder and elbow), the femoral artery (in the groin along the bikini line), and the popliteal artery (behind the knee).
  • Clean the Wound - Once bleeding has stopped, wash the wound with warm water and mild soap.
  • Determine Whether the Wound Requires Stitches - Usually, wide puncture wounds may require stitches. If stitches are needed, then proceed to the emergency department.
  • Apply Antiseptic Ointment - Use antiseptic ointment and cover with adhesive bandages, if the wounds are smaller and do not require stitches.
  • Clean and Change Bandages - It is necessary to clean and change the wound dressings daily. While changing the dressing, it is essential to clean the wound and look for signs of infection.
  • Pain Relief - Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used as required for getting relief from pain.
  • Observe for Signs of Infection - Check for signs of infection, during the dressing changes or if the victim develops a fever, chills, or is feeling poorly. If there is increasing redness or swelling around the wound, or drainage from the wound, especially pus-like drainage or if the redness begins to radiate or streak away from the puncture wound, then it is essential to schedule consultation with a doctor as early as possible.

Caregivers should evaluate and document the puncture wound and signs of infection if any, to help healthcare professionals create and evaluate treatment plans and monitor patient healthcare over time. With a good woundcare EHR, care givers can perform the documentation tasks quickly and without much difficulty.