About Emergencies

Wound Warning Signs

Emergency Sign
One of the oldest known medical texts, dated 2200 BC, established founding principles of wound care, which are still in use today.

Be Wound Wise: Know the Wound Warning Signs

An injury with the following warning signs should prompt you to seek immediate treatment:

  • Bleeding that doesn't stop after 5 minutes when direct, steady pressure is applied
  • A wound that is 'gaping' open, a deep puncture, or one in which the skin is badly torn
  • Wound edges that cannot be easily held together
  • Problems with movement or sensation following an injury
  • Almost any cut on the head, face, neck or hand
  • Any wound in which you can see tissue that appears to be fat or muscle
  • Any wound that shows signs of infection (e.g., fever, swelling, redness, or bad smell, fluid draining from the area or increasing pain)
  • Any cut from animal bites and all human bites

If the Wound Meets Any of These Criteria, Get Medical Attention Immediately. Don't Delay!

Waiting can interfere with the physician's treatment of the wound. Waiting several hours also can result in an increased risk for infection or increasing scarring. Waiting too long may prevent physicians from being able to close the wound properly.

Injury visit rates are higher for men than women.

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