Page header image

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.

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:

  • You still see dirt in the wound after you soak it.
  • Part of the object breaks off in the wound.
  • 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, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2006-10-10
Last reviewed: 2006-03-02
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 healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
Page footer image