Abdominal Pain - Female
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Antibiotics: When Do They Help
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Asthma Attack
Athlete's Foot
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Bed Bug Bite
Bee or Yellow Jacket Sting
Blisters
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Burn
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Chickenpox
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Cracked or Dry Skin
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Crying Baby - Before 3 Months Old
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Cut, Scrape, or Bruise
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Diarrhea
Diarrhea Diseases From Travel
Dizziness
Drinking Fluids - Decreased
Dry Skin
Ear - Congestion
Ear - Discharge
Ear - Injury
Ear - Pulling At or Rubbing
Ear - Swimmer's
Ear Infection Questions
Earache
Earwax Buildup
Ebola Exposure
Eczema
Emergency Symptoms Not to Miss
Eye - Allergy
Eye - Foreign Body or Object
Eye - Injury
Eye - Pus or Discharge
Eye - Red Without Pus
Eye - Swelling
Fever
Fever - How to Take the Temperature
Fever - Myths Versus Facts
Fifth Disease
Finger Injury
Fire Ant Sting
Flu
Fluid Intake Decreased
Food Allergy
Foreskin Care Questions
Frostbite
Genital Injury - Female
Genital Injury - Male
Hair Loss
Hand-Foot-And-Mouth Disease HFMD
Hay Fever
Head Injury
Headache
Heat Exposure and Reactions
Heat Rash
Hives
Human or Animal Bite
Immunization Reactions
Impetigo - Infected Sores
Infection Exposure Questions
Influenza - Seasonal
Influenza Exposure
Insect Bite
Jaundiced Newborn
Jellyfish Sting
Leg Injury
Leg Pain
Lice - Head
Lymph Nodes - Swollen
Medication - Refusal to Take
Mental Health Problems
Molluscum
Mosquito Bite
Mosquito-Borne Diseases from Travel
Motion Sickness
Mouth Injury
Mouth Ulcers
Neck Pain or Stiffness
Newborn Appearance Questions
Newborn Illness - How to Recognize
Newborn Rashes and Birthmarks
Newborn Reflexes and Behavior
Nose Allergy Hay Fever
Nose Injury
Nosebleed
Penis-Scrotum Symptoms
Pinworms
Poison Ivy - Oak - Sumac
Puncture Wound
Rash or Redness - Localized
Rash or Redness - Widespread
Reflux Spitting Up
Ringworm
Roseola
Scabies
Scrape
Sinus Pain or Congestion
Skin Foreign Body or Object
Skin Injury
Skin Lump
Sliver or Splinter
Sore Throat
Spider Bite
Spitting Up - Reflux
Stomach Pain - Female
Stomach Pain - Male
Stools - Blood In
Stools - Unusual Color
Strep Throat Exposure
Strep Throat Infection
Sty
Sunburn
Suture Questions
Swallowed Foreign Body or Object
Swallowed Harmless Substance
Swimmer's Itch - Lakes and Oceans
Tear Duct - Blocked
Teething
Thrush
Tick Bite
Toe Injury
Toenail - Ingrown
Tooth Injury
Toothache
Umbilical Cord Symptoms
Urinary Tract Infection - Female
Urination Pain - Female
Urination Pain - Male
Vaginal Symptoms
Vomiting With Diarrhea
Vomiting Without Diarrhea
Warts
Wheezing Other Than Asthma
Wound Infection

Resources

Is Your Child Sick?TM


Puncture Wound

Is this your child's symptom?

  • The skin is punctured by a pointed narrow object

Causes of Puncture Wounds

  • Metal: Nail, sewing needle, pin, tack
  • Pencil: Pencil lead is actually graphite (harmless). It is not poisonous lead. Even colored leads are not toxic.
  • Wood: Toothpick

Complications of Puncture Wounds

  • Retained Foreign Body (Object). This happens if part of the sharp object breaks off in the skin. The pain will not go away until it is removed.
  • Wound Infection. This happens in 4% of foot punctures. The main symptom is spreading redness 2 or 3 days after the injury.
  • Bone Infection. If the sharp object also hits a bone, the bone can become infected. Punctures of the ball of the foot are at greatest risk. The main symptoms are increased swelling and pain 2 weeks after the injury.

When to Call for Puncture Wound

Call 911 Now

  • Deep puncture on the head, neck, chest or stomach
  • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Puncture into a joint
  • Feels like something is still in the wound
  • Won't stand (bear weight or walk) on punctured foot
  • Needle stick from used shot needle
  • Sharp object or setting was very dirty (such as a playground or dirty water)
  • No past tetanus shots
  • Dirt in the wound is not gone after 15 minutes of scrubbing
  • Severe pain and not improved 2 hours after taking pain medicine
  • Wound looks infected (spreading redness, red streaks)
  • Fever occurs
  • You think your child has a serious injury
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Last tetanus shot was over 5 years ago
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Minor puncture wound

Call 911 Now

  • Deep puncture on the head, neck, chest or stomach
  • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Puncture into a joint
  • Feels like something is still in the wound
  • Won't stand (bear weight or walk) on punctured foot
  • Needle stick from used shot needle
  • Sharp object or setting was very dirty (such as a playground or dirty water)
  • No past tetanus shots
  • Dirt in the wound is not gone after 15 minutes of scrubbing
  • Severe pain and not improved 2 hours after taking pain medicine
  • Wound looks infected (spreading redness, red streaks)
  • Fever occurs
  • You think your child has a serious injury
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Last tetanus shot was over 5 years ago
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Minor puncture wound

Care Advice for Puncture Wound

  1. What You Should Know About Puncture Wounds:
    • Most puncture wounds do not need to be seen.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Cleaning the Wound:
    • First wash off the foot, hand or other punctured skin with soap and water.
    • Then soak the puncture wound in warm soapy water for 15 minutes.
    • For any dirt or debris, gently scrub the wound surface back and forth. Use a wash cloth to remove any dirt.
    • If the wound re-bleeds a little, that may help remove germs.
  3. Antibiotic Ointment:
    • Use an antibiotic ointment (such as Polysporin). No prescription is needed.
    • Then, cover with a bandage (such as Band-Aid). This helps to reduce the risk of infection.
    • Re-wash the wound and put on antibiotic ointment every 12 hours.
    • Do this for 2 days.
  4. Pain Medicine:
    • To help with the pain, give an acetaminophen product (such as Tylenol).
    • Another choice is an ibuprofen product (such as Advil).
    • Use as needed.
  5. What to Expect:
    • Puncture wounds seal over in 1 to 2 hours.
    • Pain should go away within 2 days.
  6. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Dirt in the wound still there after 15 minutes of scrubbing
    • Pain becomes severe
    • Looks infected (redness, red streaks, pus, fever)
    • You think your child needs to be seen
    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Copyright 1994-2017 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC. All rights reserved.

Puncture Wound - BB Gun

This photo shows a puncture wound from a BB gun in left upper arm. Note the small hole in the arm where the BB struck and entered the skin.

First Aid - Wound - How to Clean
  • Wash the wound with soap and water for 5 minutes.
  • Gently scrub out any dirt with a washcloth.
  • Cover the wound with a sterile gauze or a clean cloth.
  • Apply direct pressure for 10 minutes to stop any bleeding.
First Aid - Removing a Splinter

You can remove splinters, larger slivers, and thorns with a needle and tweezers. Check the tweezers beforehand to be certain the ends (pickups) meet exactly. (If they do not, bend them.) Sterilize the tools with rubbing alcohol or a flame.

Clean the skin surrounding the sliver briefly with rubbing alcohol before trying to remove it. Be careful not to push the splinter in deeper. If you don't have rubbing alcohol, use soap and water, but don't soak the area if FB is wood (Reason: can cause swelling of the splinter).

Remove the splinter:

  • Step 1: Use the needle to completely expose the large end of the sliver. Use good lighting. A magnifying glass may help.
  • Step 2: Then grasp the end firmly with the tweezers and pull it out at the same angle that it went in. Getting a good grip the first time is especially important with slivers that go in perpendicular to the skin or those trapped under the fingernail.

Select from over 100 symptoms to learn about managing your child's illness.