8 Minor Injuries and Incidents That Can Become Life-Threatening

Tired exhausted dehydrated man
Maridav / Shutterstock.com

We’re all so busy that it’s common to ignore minor injuries, thinking they’ll just heal. That’s especially true in the warm weather when everyone’s outside and many are playing games and having fun.

But a few injuries that seem “minor” can turn life-threatening if not treated quickly and properly.

Consider this list of some common and often neglected injuries that can turn serious. Make sure you seek treatment if you or someone you know experiences one.

1. Cat scratch

Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com

Think cat scratches or bites are nothing to be concerned about? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 12,000 people each year are diagnosed with cat-scratch disease and 500 people are hospitalized for it.

The disease is caused when the cat spreads a bacterium called Bartonella henselae through biting or scratches to a human. The worst cases involve complications to the brain, heart, eyes and internal organs.

To prevent this disease, avoid rough play with cats, wash any bites and scratches thoroughly and seek medical assistance if pain, swelling or redness results, recommends the CDC.

2. Head injuries

Soccer player consulting with doctor about head injury.
Rocketclips, Inc / Shutterstock.com

Ever see someone fall and hit their head, then say they’re “fine” and refuse medical treatment?

That’s dangerous and can result in traumatic brain injuries that may prove fatal. It’s imperative that anyone who hits their head seek immediate medical treatment. Minor injuries often clear up without medical attention, but major injuries — especially if the person loses consciousness, or the head swells or bleeds — can signal real danger.

The only way to know whether you’re all right is by seeking medical attention, reports SpinalCord.com.

3. Deep puncture wounds

kiatipol2495 / Shutterstock.com

Stepping on a nail or otherwise puncturing your skin is not only painful, it also can lead to serious illness. Most of us properly wash such wounds, treat them with an antibiotic cream or ointment, and wrap them. However, if the wound keeps bleeding after several minutes of applying pressure, you should seek medical care, recommends the Mayo Clinic.

Also, if a wound is caused by an animal bite or metal object, don’t delay seeking professional care — diseases like tetanus or rabies could develop. Even if the wound stops bleeding, if there is any redness, increasing pain, drainage, warmth or swelling, you should seek medical help as these could be signs of a serious infection.

4. Dehydration

Maridav / Shutterstock.com

Every year, there are news reports about runners and other athletes becoming dehydrated during events. It can also happen to nonathletes — including infants and elderly people — who don’t drink enough water in the summer heat or who suffer dehydration because of diarrhea.

If dehydration is severe it can result in kidney failure, shock, a coma or worse. One way to tell if a person is severely dehydrated is to check their mental status. Lack of alertness or awareness may be a sign that professional help is needed, reports MedicineNet.com.

5. Alcohol poisoning

megaflopp / Shutterstock.com

It’s easy to consume too many adult beverages in the summertime heat. If a person is drinking alcohol and becomes confused, has slow breathing, vomits or loses consciousness, immediate medical attention should be sought, reports the Mayo Clinic. Alcohol poisoning can result in brain damage and death.

6. Hand injury

Bangkoker / Shutterstock.com

Children and weekend athletes are among those most prone to hand injuries — think mishaps while skateboarding, roller skating and biking. Broken bones — signaled by swelling and pain (and sometimes open fractures that break through the skin) — can also be debilitating.

Don’t try to treat them at home. An untreated break may not heal, or if it does your hand could become deformed and unable to move as it once did. There may be tissue damage as well, and it could become infected. Seek help.

7. Drinking too much water

KieferPix / Shutterstock.com

Drinking water is usually healthy, but the key is moderation. If you drink too much water too fast, it can lead to headaches, fatigue, vomiting and other serious symptoms that indicate water intoxication.

People even have died from water intoxication. Yes, hydration is important, but don’t overdo, even if you’re a marathon runner. If someone is suffering the symptoms of excess hydration, immediately seek medical care.

8. Blow to the chest or abdomen

Volodymyr Tverdokhlib / Shutterstock.com

Sure, the gang was just engaging in horseplay when someone got hit in the chest or stomach. Perhaps it knocked the air out of the person, but he felt fine afterward. Still, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention.

A blow to the chest — whether by another person or during a fall or car crash — can seriously damage the heart, lungs, liver, spleen or other organs. Before you treat yourself at home, consult your doctor.

Have you ever had a seemingly minor injury or problem turn into a big one? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.