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How do I care for my stitches (sutures)?

Posted by Be Well

How do I care for my stitches (sutures)?
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If you have stitches (also known as sutures) your main priority is to protect them from the elements, as well as keeping an eye on how the wound looks from time to time.

To lower your chances of developing an infection, always keep your stitches dry and clean. And, never go swimming if you have stitches.

Try to resist the urge to scratch your stitches, as even though they are strong, you may still be able to damage them.


If your child has stitches, make sure they avoid playing with water, mud, sand, or paint. These could make the wound area sore, and also cause infection. If you or your child has stitches it's also best that contact sports (such as football or hockey) are avoided. This will give the wound, where the stitches are, the best possible chance to heal.

Because stitches are prone to infection, your doctor may prescribe you with antibiotic ointment (such as betadine). It is likely you will need to spread this over your stitches for at least the first few days after the suturing (when the wound is stitched up). It's important to let your doctor know immediately if you begin to develop a rash due to the ointment.

Signs of infection

Not only should you protect your stitches, but it is also important to pay close attention to them, so that you can spot the early signs of an infection. Signs of an infection include:

  • swelling,
  • discoloring,
  • puss,
  • smelly odor, or
  • high temperature ( fever).

If you have any of the symptoms above, speak with your doctor.

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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