Here in New York City, schools are out due to the coronavirus or COVID-19. During this time, children often use their imaginations for play while being cooped up inside, and there may be accidents that result in lacerations or cuts. Usually, parents would not hesitate to head to the nearest emergency room if they believe that their child needs stitches. However, during the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals are flooded with patients seeking care for COVID-19. Therefore, an emergency plastic surgeon in New York City, Dr. Aviva Preminger, is sharing telltale signs that your child needs stitches and what to do during COVID-19 to seek medical care so that you can hopefully avoid the need for visiting the ER.
How to Tell if Your Child Needs Stitches
Most children get small cuts or scrapes while playing. Sometimes, these injuries can be treated at home with soap and water and a bandage to keep the wound from getting infected. However, it is important to know when a cut is more serious and needs medical care. Below are a few conditions that may require stitches.
- The cut is gaping or wide
- The wound is spurting blood
- Bone can be seen
- The injury is located on your child’s lips, face, or neck
- There is a presence of glass or other debris inside the cut
- The wound appears to be deeper than a surface cut or scrape
- The wound is still bleeding after applying pressure to it for five minutes
If your child is spurting blood from their injury, immediately apply pressure on the wound with a clean, dry cloth to stop the bleeding. Then, take the child to the closest emergency room where a doctor can determine the extent of the damage and provide the proper care.
Watch for Signs of Infection
Whether your child received stitches or not, it is important to assess the wound daily to ensure it is healing properly. To help prevent your child’s injury from becoming infected, keep the wounded area clean, and change the dressing at least once a day. Using a bandage to completely cover the cut is recommended.
Here’s how to tell if your child’s wound becomes infected:
- Your child develops pain or fever
- Pus begins to drain from the wound
- The stitches begin to come out or if the wound reopens
- Redness, warmth, or swelling is present around the wound
Often, doctors place butterfly bandages over stitches to provide additional strength and security so the wound can properly heal. These bandages may loosen and fall off after a few days, so there is no need to be concerned. However, Dr. Preminger will need to remove the stitches once the injury has healed.
How to Connect With a Healthcare Professional for a Wound Assessment
With the presence of COVID-19 in the New York City area, you might want to avoid going to the ER, if possible. That’s why Preminger Plastic Surgery offers telehealth options for patient care. If you are concerned about leaving your home to receive emergency medical care for lacerations, schedule a virtual consultation with Dr. Preminger by calling (212) 706-1900, as our phone lines will remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.