With the arrival of the improved Spring weather and the longer evening daylight hours all of us are looking forward to more activity outdoors. More opportunities for exercise, gardening, sports activities are a great part of the Austin lifestyle. Along with this upturn in activity we always see an increased number of accidents that might send our patients to the emergency room. Sprains, strains, and skin lacerations are among the most common incidents that we here about. Along with these stories of inconvenient and painful accidents go another story of afternoons or evenings spent in the emergency room waiting for urgent care.
Many people and , in fact , many doctors have always felt that any significant skin laceration needs to be treated very quickly to avoid infection. However, new information suggests that this is not the case in most circumstances. A recent study published in the Feb, 2014 Emergency Medicine Journal found little difference in infection or complication rates of those having immediate treatment and those waiting longer than 12 hours to have their wound attended to.
Based on this recommendation and our many years of experience in treating such injuries, we recommend the following:
For skin wounds and lacerations that may require sutures first apply direct pressure to control bleeding. Persistent and significant bleeding will require a visit to the ER , but most bleeding is very easily controlled with pressure. Then gently clean the wound with a soapy water solution. Now apply a gauze dressing or other covering to protect the wound. If you have any doubt about the situation you can call the office M-F or simply come to our office and we can provide urgent care for these accidents. After-hours and weekends you can call the on call physician for advise or in many cases simply wait until the office opens the next day and present to our walk in clinic for evaluation, wound care, laceration repair, and tetanus update. We often hear of multiple hour waits in the ER and you can be in and out of our office in less than an hour in most urgent care cases with less of an insurance co-pay.