First aid: Puncture wounds
A puncture wound doesn't usually cause excessive bleeding. Often the wound seems to close almost instantly. But this doesn't mean treatment isn't necessary.
A puncture wound — such as from stepping on a nail — can be dangerous because of the risk of infection. Wounds resulting from human or animal bites may be especially prone to infection. If the bite was deep enough to draw blood and bleeding persists, seek medical attention.
Otherwise, follow these steps:
See your doctor if the puncture wound
If you haven't had a tetanus shot within five years, your doctor may recommend a booster within 48 hours of the injury.
If an animal — especially a stray dog or a wild animal — inflicted the wound, you may have been exposed to rabies. Your doctor may give you antibiotics and suggest starting a rabies vaccination series.
Last Updated: 2012-02-21
© 1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
Terms and conditions of use