Cuts & Burns

Skin is the largest organ of the human body. It protects us, acting as a barrier to any harmful germs or severe injury. Sometimes cuts and scrapes happen, though, and need to be treated properly to prevent infection or further damage.


What Is a Cut
A cut ( or scrape or break) in the skin is called a laceration. The cut may be near the surface of the skin or deeper. It can also be smooth or jagged depending on its cause. Based on the depth of the laceration, it can affect the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, or blood vessels.

How To Treat a Cut
If you receive a cut, apply pressure to the cut area with a clean, dry cloth. Bleeding should stop within ten minutes. If the cut is more than 1/2 inch long or 1/4 inch deep, please schedule an appointment at one of our local clinics as any cut that is gaping or split open may need stitches. Ideally, to prevent infections, the wound should be closed as soon as possible. For any of the following symptoms, please visit one of our urgent care clinics:

  • The cut is large or more than 1/4 inch deep
  • You received an animal bite (See our page on Bites and Puncture Wounds here)
  • An object is lodged in the wound – do not remove it
  • The object causing the injury was rusty
  • You have not had a tetanus shot in the last 10 years

Or, if you are concerned regardless of whether or not you have these symptoms, visit us at your local Xpress Wellness clinic.


What Is a Burn
A burn is a type of injury to the skin, or other tissues, caused by heat, cold, electricity, chemicals, friction, or radiation. Most burns are due to heat from hot liquids, solids, or fire. Burns can also occur as a result of self-harm or violence between people.

Burn Categories
Burns are classified by:

  • First-degree burns: least serious.
  • Second-degree burns: more serious; involves the 1st and 2nd layers of skin.
  • Third-degree burns: most serious and involve all layers of skin, including fat and potentially muscle. Seek help immediately in the event you receive a third-degree burn.

First-degree burns only involve the outer layer of the skin. Typically, the skin is red and there may be some pain and swelling. Unless substantial portions of the skin are involved in the burn, it can be treated as a minor injury. All first-degree burns can be seen in our urgent care clinics.

Second-degree burns involve the first and second layers of skin. Blisters will develop and the skin will be intensely red with severe pain. If possible, cover the burn with a cool, moist cloth or towel and seek medical help. Most second-degree burns should be treated in the Emergency Room. If you are unsure, you can call our urgent care clinics, and we will direct you to the right place!

Third-degree burns cause permanent skin damage. In this instance, the skin may be charred black or appear dry and white. Third-degree burns are medical emergencies. If possible, the burn should be covered with a cool, moist cloth or towel. All third-degree burns should be treated in the Emergency Room.