Causes of puncture wounds
puncture wound is a forceful injury caused by a sharp, pointed object that
penetrates the skin. A puncture wound is usually narrower and deeper than a cut
or scrape. Many people accidentally get puncture wounds with household or work
items, yard tools, or when operating machinery. Most puncture wounds are minor,
and home treatment is usually all that is needed.
such as nails, tacks, ice picks, knives, teeth, and needles, can all cause
puncture wounds. Puncture wounds increase your risk of infection because they
are hard to clean and provide a warm, moist place for bacteria to
grow. The bacteria Pseudomonas are a common cause of infections when a puncture wound occurs through the sole of an athletic shoe.
Some punctures are done for
health reasons. For example, a puncture may be used by
a doctor to draw blood or to give fluid or medicines directly into a vein
(intravenous, or IV).
have an increased risk of needle-stick injuries. A puncture from a used needle
increases the risk of infection or for transmitting a blood-borne disease, such
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Home treatment may
be all that is needed for puncture wounds from clean needles.
What to do if you get a puncture wound?
you have a puncture wound:
- Determine if any part of the object that
caused the wound is still in the wound, such as a splinter or
lead (graphite) from a pencil. A pencil
lead puncture wound is less worrisome, so it is not
necessary to check blood levels for lead or worry about lead toxicity or
if underlying tissues, such as blood vessels, nerves, tendons, ligaments,
bones, joints, or internal organs, have been injured by the
- Clean the wound and remove any dirt or debris to prevent
bacterial skin infections and
- Determine whether you
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you
should see a doctor.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
June 6, 2012
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