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
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
Consider applying a bandage
Most puncture wounds heal
well and don't need a bandage. You may need to protect the puncture wound from
dirt and irritation. Be sure to clean the wound thoroughly before
bandaging it to reduce the risk of infection occurring under the bandage.
Puncture wounds are less likely than cuts to need stitches, staples or skin adhesives.
- Determine whether you need a
- You may have a localized
reaction to a tetanus shot. Symptoms include warmth, swelling, and redness at
the injection site. A fever of up to
100°F (37.8°C) may occur. Home
treatment can help reduce the discomfort.