Cuts and Wounds
Not all cuts require a visit to an urgent care clinic. Many small cuts can be treated at home with basic first aid. But you may be surprised to learn that you may need to make a trip to an urgent care clinic near you for some cuts, even if they’re small and may not require stitches.
When to go to urgent care for cuts and wounds
When you’re trying to decide whether or not to go to an urgent care clinic for a cut, don’t just look at the cut’s size. You also need to consider what caused the wound. If you’ve been cut with something unclean (such as wood, a kitchen knife that was just cutting food, a yard tool, or asphalt), you may need to see an urgent care doctor, especially if you don’t know the last time you had a tetanus shot. If you’re uncertain about your last tetanus shot, you should come to a clinic near you - even if the wound is small.
If your wound is dirty and you have foreign objects embedded in the skin such as splinters or gravel, it’s always a good idea to go to an urgent care doctor. MedHelp urgent care clinics are also equipped to deal with more serious wounds that may require stitches. In fact, we can treat most wounds, as long as your appendage is still attached and you’re stable.
What you can do for cuts and wounds
Before you come to an urgent care clinic to have your wound evaluated, it’s always a good idea to clean your wound with warm soapy water. If you can tolerate it, you should also remove any visible foreign objects in your wound.
Once you come to our urgent care clinic, let the person at the front desk know that you’ve cut yourself; a nurse will take you to a private room right away. Your urgent care doctor will examine you as soon as they can and determine whether your wound is treatable at MedHelp, or if we need to send you to a higher level of care.
What your urgent care doctor can do for cuts and wounds
If your wound needs care at our clinic, the first thing your doctor will do is clean it. Your urgent care doctor will also look to see if any foreign bodies are retained in your wound. Depending on the type of wound, you may also need an x-ray to ensure that the wound is completely clear.
Once the wound is cleaned and all foreign bodies have been removed, your urgent care doctor will repair your wound if needed. We may leave some wounds open (such as animal bites) because of the risk of infection. We can close other wounds with Steri-strips, Dermabond, or stitches, depending on your specific needs. If you need a tetanus shot, we can also do that while you’re in the clinic without an additional charge to your insurance.
If you do need stitches, just come back to our clinic in 7 to 10 days to get your stitches out. This is a quick and easy visit, and it won’t require an additional copay.
Remember, most cuts and wounds that require medical treatment can be treated easily at an urgent care clinic. But if your appendage is detached, you’re bleeding profusely, or you’re unable to walk or stay awake, go to the emergency room for wound treatment.
With five convenient clinics in the Birmingham metro area, we’re nearby when you need us. And since cuts and wounds don’t always happen during normal business hours, we have extended weekday hours and clinics open seven days a week.