You decided to fix your deck, which in retrospect may not have been the best decision. Of course, a quick distraction and you cut your hand with a hand saw? What should you do?

If the wound is small-less than one half of inch, no bone is visible and the bleeding can be stopped easily you can just put the cut area under the faucet, wash it out and then dry the wound. A little antibiotic ointment and a bandaid and you’re done. Yes, you should change the dressing daily for a couple of days. You should see your doctor for redness, swelling or increased pain.

On the other hand if the wound is greater than one half an inch, deep, contaminated with lots of dirt, wood or whatever or you suspect that you might have broken your bone along with the cut, then yes you should go to the ER.

These type of wounds may require more extensive cleansing, sutures and even at times surgery or hospital admission. Many times antibiotics will be prescribed, especially if the wound is contaminated or if you have such diseases as diabetes or are on chemotherapy.

If there is any question, try calling the nurse on call for your insurance or your primary care provider who can let you if you need to be seen right away.