No matter how careful we are, scrapes and cuts are bound to happen. In fact, for some people, small cuts can become so common that it’s difficult to know when an injury requires stitches and when it can just be bandaged at home.\nRELATED:\u00a0How to Stop Bleeding and Treat Wounds at Home\nCuts that occur in certain areas of the body or that are deep and\/or dirty require immediate medical attention at an emergency room or urgent care center.\n\n\n\n\nWhat Should I Do When I Get Cut?\nFor very minor or shallow injuries, like paper cuts, simply clean the cut and apply a bandage, if necessary, to keep it clean.\nFor more severe cuts, take the following action:\n\nWash the cut with water and gentle soap to prevent infection.\nStop the bleeding by applying gentle pressure to the injury.\nExamine the edges of the wound. If the edges are smooth and stay together during normal body movement, treatment is probably not needed.\n\nIf you believe you may need medical attention, seek it within six to eight hours of getting the injury.\n \r\n \r\n The HealthBeat Newsletter: Reliable, Easy-to-Understand Health Information \r\n \r\n Enter your email to subscribe\r\n \r\n \r\n\t \r\n \r\n Sign Up \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n I understand that by providing my email address, I agree to receive emails from UPMC. I understand that I may opt out of receiving such communications at any time.\r\n \r\n \r\n \n \nDoes My Cut Need Stitches?\nWhen to Get Stitches for Your Cut\nYour wound may need stitches or other medical treatment if it meets any of the following criteria:\n\nThe cut is deeper than a quarter of an inch.\nThe cut was made by a dirty or rusty object and\/or there is a risk of infection.\nFat, muscle, bone, or other deep body structures are visible due to the wound.\nThe cut is over a joint, especially if the edges open when you move the joint or if opening the wound shows muscle, bone, or joint structures.\nThe injury is deep and on your hand or finger.\nYou have cosmetic concerns about the wound (i.e. it is on the face or area you don’t want to have a scar).\nAfter 15 minutes of pressure, the cut is still bleeding.\n\nYou may not need medical treatment for your cut if:\n\nThe cut has smooth edges that stay together as you move.\nThe wound is very shallow.\nIt is a puncture wound (they are usually smaller, with less risk of scarring, and they are more difficult to clean, so closing the wound increases the risk of sealing infection-causing bacteria which can grow inside).\n\nIf you are uncertain about the severity of your injury, seek immediate medical attention. Only a doctor can assess whether a cut requires stitches or an adhesive closure \u2014 and they can help you minimize your risk of infection and other complications.\nFind a UPMC emergency room or UPMC Urgent Care near you.