Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Symptoms Evaluation Treatment questions for doctor tetanus Home Care pain control warning signs Prevention Outlook Complications Underlying Cause Anatomy

Wound Puncture Home Care

Home care for a puncture wound includes:

  • Apply direct pressure to control bleeding:
    • Use a gauze or clean cloth directly on the wound.
    • Maintain constant pressure for at least 10 minutes.
    • Do not interrupt the pressure, in order to look at the wound.
  • Clean the wound:
    • Use mild soap and water.
    • Do not scrub the wound.
    • Remove dirt or foreign material from the wound.
    • Running water can help remove dirt.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment.
  • Cover the wound:
    • Use gauze or an elastic bandage.
    • Wounds to the face may be left uncovered.
  • Keep the wound clean and dry.
  • Rest the injured area.
  • Elevate the injured area.

Ongoing home care for a puncture wound includes:
  • Clean the skin gently:
    • 2-3 times a day
    • Use mild soap and water.
    • Do not scrub the skin.
  • Wounds to the foot need special care:
    • Clean foot wounds three to four times a day
    • Wear an open shoe.
  • Gently clean scabs on the face with a soft cloth and hydrogen peroxide:
    • Try not to cause bleeding.
  • Dry the wound gently, and completely, with a clean towel or gauze.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment.
  • Cover the wound:
    • Use gauze or an elastic bandage.
    • Wounds to the face may be left uncovered.
  • Acetaminophen for pain
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
  • Take prescribed medications as directed.

Tetanus Considerations
A tetanus shot is necessary right away if you have not had three tetanus shots in the past.

If you have received three tetanus shots in the past, you need a tetanus shot within three days for a dirty wound.

Wound Puncture Pain Control

Medications commonly used to control pain and inflammation in adults with a puncture wound include:

  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Adult dosing is 2 regular strength (325 mg) every 4 hours or 2 extra-strength (500 mg) every 6 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 4,000 mg per day.
  • Avoid this drug if you have alcoholism, liver disease or an allergy to the drug. See the package instructions.
  • Common brand names include Tylenol, Panadol, and many others.





NSAID Precautions

Wound Puncture Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have a puncture wound and any of the following:

Continue to Wound Puncture Prevention

Last Updated: Jan 3, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Wound Puncture References
  1. Baldwin G, Colbourne M. Puncture wounds. Pediatr Rev. 1999 Jan;20(1):21-3. [9919048]
  2. Harrison M, Thomas M. Towards evidence based emergency medicine: best BETs from the Manchester Royal Infirmary. Antibiotics after puncture wounds to the foot. Emerg Med J. 2002 Jan;19(1):49. [11777876]
  3. Haverstock BD, Grossman JP. Puncture wounds of the foot. Evaluation and treatment. Clin Podiatr Med Surg. 1999 Oct;16(4):583-96. [10553222]
  4. Laughlin TJ, Armstrong DG, Caporusso J, Lavery LA. Soft tissue and bone infections from puncture wounds in children. West J Med. 1997 Feb;166(2):126-8. [9109329]
  5. Lavery LA, Walker SC, Harkless LB, Felder-Johnson K. Infected puncture wounds in diabetic and nondiabetic adults. Diabetes Care. 1995 Dec;18(12):1588-91. [8722056]
  6. Weber EJ. Plantar puncture wounds: a survey to determine the incidence of infection. J Accid Emerg Med. 1996 Jul;13(4):274-7. [8832349]
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