Should I Nurse My Open Sore on My Own or See a Doctor?

Nov 07, 2022
Should I Nurse My Open Sore on My Own or See a Doctor?
Open sores and skin ulcers can develop for a variety of reasons. How do you know when to go see a doctor — or head to an urgent care center — for an open sore?

Any type of open wound in your skin can be a cause for medical concern. Your skin, your body’s largest organ, protects the interior of your body from debris, germs, and more.

Open sores are also known as skin ulcers. Skin ulcers can form in a variety of locations and for a variety of reasons, but you always need to pay attention to this type of wound. And, in many cases, you should get the problem looked at by a medical professional as soon as possible.

Our experienced urgent care team at Carolina Urgent Care makes it easy for you to get the medical care you need. We offer walk-in urgent care services from our location in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. If you’re concerned about an open sore, you may even be able to get the issue evaluated via telehealth without leaving the comfort of your home.

How do you know when to see a doctor for an open sore? Here’s what you need to know to make the right call.

Open sores: what to look for

An open sore is distinguished from other types of open wounds by the shape of the wound. Open sores are rounded in shape, with a crater-like center that appears raw. That’s where the opening in your skin has occurred. An open sore may weep clear serous fluid or blood.

A skin ulcer means that your tissues in that area have undergone disintegration. That can happen for several different reasons. You might have suffered a trauma, have poor circulation in the affected area or have long-term pressure problems that need to be resolved. 

Bedsores or pressure sores, venous or arterial skin ulcers in your legs, and neuropathic skin ulcers can all occur.

Open sores and skin ulcers tend to worsen over time. That’s why even mild skin ulcers can still be a cause for concern. Eventually, your open sore can even start to affect deep layers of your skin tissue, muscle, and bone.

When to seek medical care for an open sore

Watch out for signs of infection around an open sore. Infection definitely needs urgent medical care. Signs of infection include pus and redness around the skin ulcer. A black border around the skin ulcer indicates tissue death and is another indicator that you need medical care sooner rather than later.

However, it’s also a good rule of thumb to err on the side of caution when it comes to seeing a doctor for an open sore. Trying to nurse the injury at home, you could end up dealing with long-term complications. Skin ulcers often take a long time to heal, and can worsen to become serious rapidly. Ulcers can also become chronic, and that takes a real toll on your health.

The team at Carolina Urgent Care can see you any time that’s convenient for you with walk-in urgent care services. We can help you address a mild sore, and also have interventions available to handle more serious situations.

Instead of waiting and letting potentially serious complications develop, come to Carolina Urgent Care for evaluation and treatment. Walk in now for care, or schedule an appointment online or over the phone.


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