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Puncture wound: what should I do?

If your child receives a puncture wound, the first thing you should do is wash your hands and examine the injured area. Gently wash the injured area with water and mild soap. Next, visually check the injury to make sure that there is nothing embedded in the wound. You should not probe the wound while doing this; simply look closely.  If you do find that there is a piece of the object embedded in the wound, take them to the hospital. Even if you cannot see anything stuck in the wound, but the object that your child was injured with has a piece missing (the point of a ball-point pen, for example), you should take them to the hospital as well. Naturally, if the wound is bleeding and cannot be controlled by applying pressure to the area, you should get medical attention.

If there is no debris in the wound, the bleeding is minimal, and the wound seems minor, you should apply an antibacterial cream or ointment and put a bandage on the area.

If your child’s puncture wound was caused from a rusty or dirty object, you should call their doctor. The doctor may have you bring your child in just to take a look and perhaps prescribe antibiotics to prevent an infection.

The doctor will also check to see if your child has had or is in need of a Human Tetanus Immune Globulin shot. These shots are commonly given with the regular vaccination series at 2, 4, 6, and 15 months. These shots help to protect your child from receiving tetanus, which can be a potentially fatal infection, from bacteria entering the body through a wound.

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