Puncture Wounds - Home Treatment
Minor puncture wounds can be treated effectively at home. If you do not have an increased risk of infection, you do not have other injuries, and you do not need a tetanus shot or treatment by a doctor, you can treat a puncture wound at home. Home treatment can prevent infection and promote healing.
The American Red Cross recommends that everyone use blood and body fluid precautions with first aid treatment.
- Make sure the object causing the wound is not still in the wound. Check to see if the object is intact and a piece has not broken off in the wound.
- Try to remove the object that caused the wound if it is small and you can see it. If you have a splinter, try using cellophane tape before using clean tweezers or a needle. Simply put the tape over the splinter, then pull the tape off. The splinter usually sticks to the tape and is removed painlessly and easily. Be careful, and do not push the object farther into the wound. Do not wet the splinter.
Stop the bleeding
- Allow the wound to bleed freely for up to 5 minutes to clean itself out, unless there has been a lot of blood loss or blood is squirting out of the wound.
Stop the bleeding with direct pressure to the wound.
After you have stopped the bleeding, check your symptoms to determine if and when you need to see your doctor.
Clean the wound
Clean the wound as soon as possible to reduce the chance of infection, scarring, and tattooing of the skin from dirt left in the wound. (If dirt or other debris is not removed from a puncture wound, the new skin will heal over it. The dirt can then be seen through the skin and may look like a tattoo.)
- Wash the wound for 5 minutes with large amounts of cool water and soap (mild dishwashing soap, such as Ivory, works well). Some nonprescription products are available for wound cleaning that numb the area so cleaning doesn't hurt as much. Be sure to read the product label for correct use.
- Do not use rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or Mercurochrome, which can harm the tissue and slow healing.