From ArticleWorld

A wound is a physical trauma in which the skin is cut, punctured, torn or subject to a contusion due to a shock by blunt force.

All wounds are medically evaluated, but they can be considered minor without complete evaluation if they are superficial, the bleeding is minor and away from a natural orifice, and they were not caused by tools or animals.

Severe wounds should be considered medical emergencies, because they can be fatal, either due to the loss of blood, or due to the danger of infection.

Wounds are classified as open or closed, depending on where it is situated.

Open and closed

Open wounds are characterized by the bleeding that occurs externally. There are several types of open wounds:

  • Incisions, caused by sharp objects like razors.
  • Abrasions (grazes), caused by sliding on a rough surface, wherein the superficial layers of the skin are scrapped off.
  • Lacerations, irregular wounds caused by ripping or crushing.
  • Puncture wounds, caused by objects that puncture the skin
  • Penetration wounds, caused by objects that enter the body (e.g. the cuts made by a knife)
  • Gunshot wounds, which are caused by projectiles like bullets.

Some of these may be minor (for example, the abrasions are often minor and treatable at home). Gunshot wounds and those caused by stabbing must always be treated as medical emergencies.

In closed wounds, the bleeding occurs internally, underneath the skin surface. Depending on the severity and the symptoms, closed wounds can be classified as:

  • Contusions (bruises), characterized by damage to the subcutaneous tissues.
  • Hematoma (blood tumors), which is caused by a severe damage to the blood vessels underneath the skin, causing blood to accumulate under the skin.
  • Crushing injuries, which occur when extreme force is applied for a long time.

First aid

When offering first aid in case of minor wounds, only basic measures must be taken, in order to prevent infections. The wound should be washed and disinfected, and then covered with a sterile dressing.

If the wound is more severe, pressure should be applied on the wound in order to prevent extreme blood loss, unless an object is present underneath the skin. If the wound occurs in a limb, the limb should be elevated above the level of the heart. Sterile dressings should be applied over the wound (again, unless a foreign object is present). Medical help should be seeked immediately.