Puncture Wound: Brief Version
What is a puncture wound?
A puncture wound is when a sharp object, like a nail, cuts or pierces your child's skin. Because it is deep, it can easily get infected. If your child gets a puncture in his eye, foot, or stomach, call your healthcare provider.
How can I take care of my child?
Wash the wound.
- Soak it in warm water with soap for 15 minutes.
- Wash it with a washcloth to get out any dirt. Don't worry if it bleeds a little. That helps get rid of germs.
Cut off any flaps of skin. They can get in the way of cleaning the wound.
- Use fine scissors.
- Clean the scissors first with alcohol.
Put on antibiotic ointment and a Band-Aid. This helps keep it from getting infected.
- Soak the area again and put on antibiotic ointment every 12 hours.
- Do this for 2 days.
Give pain medicine.
- Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for any pain.
Call your child's doctor right away if:
- The puncture is in the face, neck, chest, or stomach.
- You still see dirt in the wound after you soak it.
- Part of the object breaks off in the wound.
- The wound is very deep.
- The sharp object (such as a nail) or place where the injury happened (for example, a barnyard) was very dirty.
- The wound is very red, or has streaks and pus.
Call your doctor during office hours if:
- Your child has not had a tetanus shot for 5 years.
- The pain, redness, or swelling gets worse after 48 hours.
- You have other concerns or questions.
Written by B.D. Schmitt, MD, author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2009-08-13
Last reviewed: 2010-06-02
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes
available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical
evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.