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Nearly everyone will experience an open wound at some point in their lives. An open wound is an injury that involves a break in the skin. Most these are minor and can be treated at home. It’s important to seek medical attention if the wound has been bleeding more than 20 minutes or if there is a lot of bleeding.

Types of Open Wounds


Abrasions occur when the skin scrapes of rubs up against a hard or rough surface. There isn’t much bleeding, but the wound does need to be cleaned to avoid infection


An incision is when the skin comes into contact with a sharp object puncturing the skin. These tend to bleed quickly and severely. These types of wounds can damage tendons, ligaments and muscles.


A laceration is tearing or a deep cut of the skin. The bleeding is rapid and extensive.


A puncture is a small hole caused by a long pointy object, such as a needle or nail. They may not bleed as much, but these can cause deep wounds and leading to damage to internal organs. If you have a puncture would, visit your doctor and get an evaluation. Also it’s important to get a tetanus booster shot and prevent infection.

When to see a doctor

  • Bleeding lasts longer than 20 minutes
  • Open wound is deeper than ½ inch
  • Bleeding does not stop with direct pressure
  • Bleeding is the results of a serious accident