A puncture wound is an injury to the body caused by the forceful penetration of the skin with a sharp or pointed object. Nails, tacks, needles, knives, and teeth are some of the most common causes of puncture wounds. Some puncture wounds are relatively superficial, injuring only the top layers of the skin. Others are more substantial, going deeper into the body to involve ligaments, muscles, tendons, and even bone.
Puncture wounds are deceptive injuries. They generally appear small – maybe the size of a pencil point. They often do not bleed much or even at all. However, a puncture wound can be very serious if not treated promptly and effectively.
Complications of Puncture Wounds
The nature of puncture wounds makes them difficult to clean, increasing the risk of serious and even fatal infections. Bacteria grow easily in the warm, moist cavity created when an object punctures the skin. A worker who is punctured by a rusty nail or other kind of metal may susceptible to a painful infection called tetanus. Routine vaccinations beginning in childhood can prevent tetanus. Yet, even if you are up to date on your vaccines, you should still seek medical attention if your puncture wound was caused by a metal object.
Depending on the location and depth of your injury, puncture wounds can also cause internal and external bleeding. Doctors, nurses, phlebotomists, and other medical professionals are at risk of puncture wounds caused by needles, scalpels, and sutures. These tools can transmit bloodborne pathogens like Hepatitis and HIV.
Treating a Puncture Wound
If you or a colleague experience a puncture wound on the job, follow these steps for safe treatment:
- Wash your hands to prevent infection.
- If you see blood, apply pressure with a clean cloth or bandage to stop the bleeding.
- Rinse the wound with clean water for five to ten minutes. Clean the skin around the wound with soap and water.
- Apply a small amount of antiseptic cream to the wound.
- Cover the puncture wound with clean bandages, changing them at least every day or when they become dirty.
- Look for the signs of infection: redness, swelling, drainage, or pain. See a doctor immediately if any of these appear.
- If the puncture wound bleeds profusely, or is caused by an animal, insect, rusty object, or medical instrument, immediate medical assistance is recommended.
- Notify your employer of the injury to ensure the incident is properly documented should you need to file a Workers’ Compensation
The good news is most puncture wounds are easily treated with home care. Yet because the risk of infection is great, you should keep your puncture wound clean, look for signs that something is wrong, and see your doctor if you have any concerns.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Injured Workers in South Carolina
Workers in South Carolina may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits for injuries occurring on the job. Because there are time limits on your claim, it is important to contact a Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. as early in the process as possible. We offer free case consultations to help you understand your legal options after being hurt on the job. Call 866-881-8623 or contact us online.
We represent injured workers across South Carolina, including those in the communities of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.