Friday September 16 2011
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When Does a Cut Require Stitches?

If you've got kids, they've got cuts. No matter how often you tell them to be careful or not to do something, they'll continue to accumulate skinned knees and elbows. But which will heal themselves and which need stitches?

While it's not always obvious, here are some guidelines to follow as you try to decide between the bathroom and the ER:

It needs stitched if it is:

  • Deep and gaping: If you can put your fingers on either side of the cut and gently tug it open, then it's gaping.
  • A skin flap: If the skin has been cut into a sort of “flap” then get it looked at. A cut that doesn’t seem to close on its own may require medical attention.
  • Still bleeding: It if it still bleeding for several minutes after applying pressure, it's a good idea to get it looked at. To slow bleeding, apply firm and direct pressure using a clean towel. If possible, elevate the injured area above the heart.
  • A face wound: These bleed more and tend to scare kids more than other wounds, but they are not more dangerous. They are, however, more prone to scarring. Facial scars have proven to be a source of psychological trauma in kids.
  • A lip wound: If a cut goes through the lip and into the surrounding skin, it can extremely difficult to match it back up, which can lead to scarring. It's not a bad idea to see a plastic surgeon for this type of lip cut.

If your child's cut does not meet the above criteria, clean the infected area, protect it with a band-aid, keep an eye on how it heals over the next few days, and be on the lookout for signs of infection (swelling, redness or warmth).
 

It's a simple catch phrase used by leaders to let everyone know that to accomplish any team goal, every single member of the organization has to have the same mindset. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle uses the phrase often.
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If you've got kids, they've got cuts. No matter how often you tell them to be careful or not to do something, they'll continue to accumulate skinned knees and elbows. But which will heal themselves and which need stitches?
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