Open Wound

Open Wound

What Is an Open Wound?

An open wound is an injury involving an external or internal break in body tissue, usually involving the skin. Nearly everyone will experience an open wound at some point in their lives. Most open wounds are minor and can be treated at home.
Falls, accidents with sharp objects or tools, and car accidents are the most common causes of open wounds. In the case of a serious accident, seek immediate medical attention, particularly if there’s a lot of bleeding or if bleeding lasts for more than 20 minutes.

Are There Different Types of Open Wounds?

There are five types of open wounds, which are classified depending on their cause.


An abrasion occurs when the skin rubs or scrapes against a rough or hard surface. Road rash is an example of an abrasion. There’s usually not a lot of bleeding, but the wound needs to be scrubbed and cleaned to avoid infection.


A sharp object, such as a knife, shard of glass, or razor blade, causes an incision. Incisions bleed a lot and quickly. A deep incision can damage tendons, ligaments, and muscles.


A laceration is a deep cut or tearing of the skin. Accidents with knives, tools, and machinery are frequent causes of lacerations. The bleeding is rapid and extensive.


A puncture is a small hole caused by a long, pointy object, such as a nail, needle, or ice pick. Sometimes, a bullet can cause a puncture wound. Punctures may not bleed much, but these wounds can be deep enough to damage internal organs. If you have a puncture wound (even just a small one), visit your doctor to get a tetanus booster shot and prevent infection.


An avulsion is a partial or complete tearing away of skin and tissue. Avulsions usually occur during violent accidents, such as body-crushing accidents, explosions, and gunshots. They bleed heavily and rapidly.

How Are Open Wounds Treated?

For any wound, you should take the following steps:


When to See a Doctor
Although you can treat some wounds at home, you should see a doctor if:


A wound is infected if:
• it becomes red, swollen, hot, and painful,
• it has pus,
• or if it begins to smell bad.
The infection is spreading to other parts of the body if:
• it causes fever,
• There is a red line above the wound,
• Or if the lymph nodes become swollen and tender. Lymph nodes—often called
‘Glands’ — are little traps for germs that form small lumps under the skin when they get infected.

  1. Swollen lymph nodes behind the ear are a sign of an infection on the head or scalp, often caused by sores or lice. Or German measles may be the cause.
  2. Swollen nodes below the ear and on the neck indicate infections of the ear, face, or head (or tuberculosis).
  3. Swollen nodes below the jaw indicate infections of the teeth or throat.
  4. Swollen nodes in the armpit indicate an infection of the arm, head, or breast (or sometimes breast cancer).
  5. Swollen nodes in the groin indicate an infection of the leg, foot, genitals, or anus.

Treatment of infected wounds:

WARNING: If the wound has a bad smell, if brown or gray liquid oozes out, or if the
skin around it turns black and forms air bubbles or blisters, this may be gangrene. Seek medical help fast.