We all get cuts and scratches from time to time, but sometimes they’re deeper than others. When you get a cut or laceration that bleeds a lot, it can still be tough to know whether it warrants getting stitched up.

Our AFC Urgent Care Chapman Highway explains how you can tell if you need stitches below, so read on!

  • Here’s what to do: First, evaluate the size and depth of your cut. This is one of the most important indicators of whether it needs stitches. Your wound likely needs to be stitched up if it’s deeper or longer than half an inch, it’s deep enough that fatty tissue, muscle or bone is exposed, and/or it’s wide or gaping.
  • What to do after: Monitor how much your cut is bleeding. If it hasn’t stopped bleeding in 10 minutes, even after applying direct pressure for that length of time, it’s probably deep enough to where it needs to be stitched up.
  • What to do next: Take the location of the cut into account. Lacerations on joints and the head typically bleed the most and can increase the likelihood of sutures.
  • After that: Do some basic first aid on your cut. If you think it requires stitches, apply pressure on the laceration, rinse it under running water and put a bandage or gauze on it to keep the bleeding under control before getting stitches.
  • One more thing to keep in mind: How was the laceration caused? The causes of some lacerations make sutures more important. Wounds and lacerations caused by animal bites have a higher infection rate, so they will sometimes require antibiotics in addition to stitches.
  • Watch out for signs of infection: If there is redness around the laceration, increased swelling, pus, drainage or red streaks spreading out from the wound, stitches are certainly necessary.
  • Action steps to take: If your cut falls into any of these categories, you’ll definitely need stitches. Visit our AFC center ASAP to avoid any further complications, like excess blood loss or infection.
  • Doctor recommendations: Try to stay calm and think clearly when you suffer a wound that bleeds a lot. It can be easy to panic, but applying pressure, rinsing the wound and bandaging it up should be the first things you do after suffering a laceration.

Think you need stitches? Don’t hesitate to visit AFC Urgent Care Chapman Highway today!