Deaths Caused by Traumatic Wounds
According to the CDC, traumatic wounds and injuries are the #1 cause of death in Americans aged 1-44, with more than 50,000 deaths in a year.
A traumatic wound is a break in the skin, such as a laceration, puncture, burn, or abrasion, that can be the result of a personal accident, a work- or sport-related injury, an act of violence, and more. Traumatic wounds can range visually from seemingly insignificant to large and/or deep in appearance – but no matter what the physical size of the injury, all traumatic wounds can become infected quickly if they are not quickly and appropriately treated.
Traumatic wounds have a wide range of physical appearance and level of pain. A traumatic wound may produce instant pain and swelling, or it may only give a slight twinge and not present any surface discoloration. Bleeding of a traumatic wound that has punctured the skin may be heavy or light, depending on the surface impact of the wound.
More severe traumatic wounds may be accompanied by heavy and uncontrollable bleeding, vomiting, difficulty in drawing breath, becoming mentally unresponsive or passing out, and even a weakened pulse. These types of wounds should be treated at a medical facility as soon as possible.
While they occur in a higher percentage of people who engage in risky behaviors, traumatic wounds can affect anyone at any time.
Different types of traumatic wounds can include:
- Laceration: these are wounds that are caused by a physical tear in the skin or other body tissue; because tears can be irregularly-shaped and continue to grow if left untreated, lacerations are extremely susceptible to infections.
- Puncture: this type of wound is usually cause by a sharp object penetrating the skin and/or deeper layers of body tissue; even if a puncture wound appears to close up on its own, it may still need to be treated for possible infection due to the sharp foreign object that penetrated the body.
- Burn: a burn from a flame or other hot object can cause a wound that ranges in severity, from a small singe of the skin to a third-degree burn that can kill sections of skin or other body tissue; usually, a medical professional is needed to help assess the threat of more severe burns.
- Abrasion: usually considered the “mildest” of traumatic injuries, abrasions are caused by something rubbing or scraping the skin enough to cause redness or a break in the skin; even though they can seem minor, abrasions do have the ability to let infections into the body.
- Penetration: similar to a puncture wound, a penetration wound usually occurs from something entering the body, such as glass, a knife, or a bullet or other foreign object.