Ask the Doctor: First Aid

Q. I cut myself a few days ago and now it’s starting to look infected.
What can I do?

A. Around this time of year when the weather is at its best for outdoor fun, it’s important to be prepared for all kinds of injuries – including those prone to infection like puncture wounds, cuts (or lacerations), burns, and scrapes (or abrasions). After treating the immediate complications of your skin injury, keep an eye on the affected area to look for any worrisome symptoms. Here are a few things that indicate you need to follow up at your nearest urgent care clinic or doctor’s office:

  • redness in or around a wound that begins to worsen around the fourth day post-injury
  • fever in the wound or your body
  • anything other than clear yellow fluid draining from the wound

One last note: if the wound has broken the skin and your last tetanus booster was more than 10 years ago, head on in for another booster within 72 hours of injury.


Todd Rudolph, MD
Lead Physician
Doctors Express Urgent Care
Locations in East Brainerd, Hixson, and Cleveland
423.458.1426 (Cleveland Office)