Scrapes and Cuts: When Should I See A Doctor?

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Active children often get scrapes and cuts.  Deciding when skin injuries need medical evaluation can be tricky.  The following list can help you determine when to bring your child to our office or the urgent care.  Home care instructions are included for those times when a visit isn’t needed.

  1. It is located on the face, neck, or genital area
  2. It is deep (¼ inch or more, or if you can see fat or muscle), wide or gaping, long (1/2 inch or more), or has jagged edges
  3. The wound is across a joint
  4. The bleeding won’t stop after applying pressure for 5 minutes or if it is spurting blood
  5. You can’t get all the dirt or debris out of the wound when cleaning
  6. The wound causes numbness
  7. The wound was caused by something rusty or very dirty
  8. The wound was caused by a sharp object through a shoe
  9. The wound was caused by a human or animal bite


For when a visit to the doctor isn’t needed

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or bandage for several minutes
  3. If the blood soaks through the cloth or bandage, put another on top of the old one
  4. Run clean water over the wound to get rid of as much debris as possible
  5. Wash around the wound using a soft washcloth with mild, non-scented soap
  6. Rinse off soap
  7. If any dirt or debris remains and will not rinse away with water, you can attempt using tweezers that have been cleaned with isopropyl alcohol
  8. Antiseptic solution like diluted hydrogen peroxide can be used on minor cuts and scrapes if you wish
  9. Apply over-the-counter antibiotic ointment like Neosporin
  10. Cover wound with Band-Aid or gauze pad if the wound is at risk for being exposed to dirt (hands or feet). If it is small and in a clean area, there is no need to cover it
  11. Change Band-Aid or gauze as needed
  12. Check area daily. Keep area clean and dry.
  13. Avoid exposing broken skin to lake and ocean water.
  14. Call if signs of infection develop (e.g., increased redness, warmth, swelling, pain or drainage in the area or fever/chills)


Please be sure to call the office (417-882-1600) or afterhours number (1-877-599-8962) with any questions or concerns!


Helpful websites:


Ryan Akin MS3 University of Missouri School of Medicine Springfield Campus

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