How do I know if I need stitches?

I cut my thumb yesterday with one of hubby's pocket knives.

Don't ask. It was a stupid human trick.

Anyhow, I put pressure on it with a tissue. It stopped bleeding after a while. Then I removed the tissue to use a band aid & it started bleeding again.

So I put pressure on it with a napkin. Again, it stopped bleeding after a while. I removed that to use a band aid & it started bleeding again.

I put the band aid on anyhow (F it!) & it stopped bleeding. But when I showered the band aid got wet so I had to remove it to put on another, & the cut started bleeding again.

This morning the band aid wasn't sticking right & I had to replace it. It looks like it was bleeding at some point again.

However, I'm also on Coumadin, an anti-clotting agent. So that may be why it continues to bleed.

Or it just may be bleeding off & on because it's deep. But I'm not going to get out a ruler to shove in the depth of the cut to figure out how deep it is either! I'm just going to throw out a wild guess of 1/8 ".

I don't want to go to the clinic because I don't think they even do minor "surgeries" or casts. They'd probably send me to an ER & I don't want to sit for most of the day in a room next door to someone screaming, crying, moaning or hurling.
I think it may be too late at this point to get stitches for the wound to properly bind together (what time did you get cut yesterday?) if stitches are required. I don't think 1/8th of an inch sounds too serious - just head out to Walgreens and get some of the butterfly strips to hold the cut together.
It might be too late to stitch it anyway...24 hours is usually the limit...but if you can't get the bleeding to stop with 15 minutes of direct pressure, you really should have the wound evaluated by a doctor.
Ah, so, 24 hrs is the limit. That means I don't have to go to a doc!

I *think* the wound just keeps coming back open & bleeding again, versus it not stopping completely with pressure.

I'll just use "super glue" or steri-strips. Cool. Thanks!

I doubt I even need a tetanus booster. I don't think his knife was that rusty. The last shot I had was in the early 00's anyhow, so it hasn't been 10 yrs.

By the way, I was just guessing on the depth. It could be more, but I'm not going to look at it in detail if I don't have to. *SHIVER*

This is why I went into medical ADMINISTRATION. I could never handle the other side of medicine!
I cut a finger a few years ago and called Ask-A-Nurse with this very question. If the edges of the cut do NOT fit together, you probably need stitches. I do, however, agree with the pp that I think it needs to be done sooner rather than later.
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I doubt I even need a tetanus booster. I don't think his knife was that rusty. The last shot I had was in the early 00's anyhow, so it hasn't been 10 yrs.
Originally Posted by lazy loops
Sorry, but I think the rule is 10 yrs w/out a cut, etc; 5 years if you do get cut. You really should get a booster. They made me last time.

Has it stopped bleeding by now? I'd use the steri-strips.

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Ah, so, 24 hrs is the limit. That means I don't have to go to a doc!
Originally Posted by lazy loops
Not necessarily.

My MIL cut her finger badly, and I said it looked like she needed stitches. FIL (the Oncologist!), said it would heal just fine. Three days later, he took her to the ER where they gave her stitches. We still joke that he was a great oncologist but a lousy general practitioner. (there were other examples of this, not just that one)
Minneapolis, MN
I'll just use "super glue"

This is what I would do. As long as I can get the edges of a wound together, I glue it. The faster something is closed/stitched, the better the scar will be. I keep a couple new tubes of Super Glue around just for such occasions. That's what Super Glue was invented for in the first place...back in the 1960's, for our soldiers in Viet Nam to be able to close their own wounds. Dermabond is simply sterilized Super Glue (and more expensive).

Don't put the glue IN the wound though. Close the edges and lay a bead or two of glue on top of it.
If it starts up again you should at least call your doctor since you're on coumadin. When I cut my hand, they didn't take stitches but she did tell me to skip the coumadin that evening and take my regular morning dosage.
Location: Chicago


"If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything."
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I already took my Coumadin this morning. I'm on a 2.5 mg dose.

I called the immunizations clinic & am awaiting a call about the booster shot. I believe it was last year I was told I didn't need one for a cut then, which I think was at 4 yrs.

I just took the band aid off & it was bleeding a little, but seems to have stopped. I had my son help with the super glue so I don't glue myself to anything or to myself. It's drying.

Thanks again.
Call the doc since you're on Coumadin!

I'd use the steri strips.
Hey, I've a question for those who were on Coumadin... did you have the side effect of hair loss while on it? I'm worried about that.

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