How to care for stitches?

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There are instances in which stitches are required for certain injuries. If an individual has sutures, it is vital to keep them dry and clean at all times and monitor the wound for any increase in pain, swelling or redness.

By taking into consideration these points, it reduces the risk for developing infection. The doctor will provide the proper instructions on how to properly care for the wound. For those who are uncertain on what to do for them, ask a healthcare provider for advice.

How to protect the stitches

It is vital not to scratch the stitches. Remember that even if the stitches are strong, scratching can damage them. The individual should not engage in contact sports such as hockey or football so that the wound is given enough time to properly heal.

If an individual has stitches (sutures), it is vital to keep them dry and clean at all times and monitor the wound for any increase in pain, swelling or redness.

Swimming is also not advisable until the wound was fully healed and the stitches have been removed. Once the child has stitches, he/she must not be allowed to play with mud, water, paint and sand. Take note that playing with these can cause the wound to become sore or dirty or trigger the development of infection. Children are usually advised to avoid engaging in physical activity at school until the wound that was stitched has fully healed.

Indications of infection

Aside from protecting them, you should also watch out for signs of infection such as the following:

  • Evident swelling in the area surrounding the wound
  • Swollen glands
  • Increasing redness on the area around the wound
  • Increasing pain
  • Drainage of pus or blood from the wound
  • High temperature or fever of 38 degrees C or higher
  • Warmth around the wound

If any of these symptoms are present, it is best to consult a doctor for further assessment and appropriate treatment can be carried out.

Removal of stitches

The doctor will set a date when to return so that the stitches can be removed.

  • Stitches over joints such as elbows or knees – removal is performed after 10-14 days
  • Stitches on the head – removal of the stitches is performed after 3-5 days
  • Stitches on other parts of the body – removal is done after 7-10 days

It is important to note that some are made out of absorbable material that eventually disappears on their own. Depending on the wound and the stitches applied by the doctor, proper advice can be given on how to properly care for the wound as well as the stitches.

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