No matter how much a person practices caution, accidental skin punctures happen every day to anyone. Every clothing tailor has stabbed their finger with a needle at least once in their lifetime. Someone at some time has stepped barefooted onto a broken piece of glass, slipped with a screwdriver, bumped into splintered wood, or had an unfortunate run in and lost against a wasp, or hornet.
Most people are able to treat light surface skin punctures at home if they know how. First thing to do is stop the bleeding. Minor skin punctures usually stop bleeding on their own within minutes, but if bleeding continues add light pressure to the area with a wash cloth or bandage. Seek medical attention for blood that spurts or keeps flowing after a few minutes of pressure.
After the blood stops, wash the area with a warm wet wash cloth and antibacterial soap. Do this step regardless if the wound bled or not. This will help to remove any dirt, or debris lodged under the skin. In cases where a splinter, or stinger is lodged in the skin use a pair of tweezers cleaned in alcohol to remove the foreign object. Hard to remove splinters stuck under the skin may need hospital visit.
To discourage infection and seal skin punctures from further interference apply antibiotic cream or ointment to the wound. From here the wound can be covered with a bandage or gauze to keep dirt from sneaking in. Tiny pin prick type punctures may heal faster without covering, but if the area will unavoidably be exposed to debris a bandage is necessary. Remember to change the bandage should it get wet or dirty.
Keep an eye on the area. If severe redness, swelling, pus, or drainage is present seek a doctor immediately.
Many serious skin punctures need immediate medical attention at the emergency room. Such emergency situations include snake, scorpion and poisonous spider bites, which need an antidote only found in certain hospitals. Bites or punctures from any other animal running in the wild may come with the rabies virus, fatal if not vaccinated in a specific time frame. Only one person is known to have ever survived a rabies bite, not been vaccinated, and survived with no long lasting problems.
A deep wound caused by a knife or other sharp object needs emergency attention in case the object penetrated a vital organ, or is causing severe hemorrhaging.
All allergic reactions should go straight to the emergency room even if a first aid kit for that condition is on hand. This includes bee and wasp stings, spider bites, and other punctures caused by animals. Many lives are saved by quick thinking and first aid knowledge.