As you may be aware, large or deep wounds often require stitches to heal. A surgical patient, for instance, may have stitches following a procedure. It’s also common for athletes who sustain a serious injury to get stitches, too. But how much do you actually know about this treatment method and caring for a wound during (and after) this process? We’ll answer some of the most common stitches-related questions today.
How do I know where to get stitches?
In a life-threatening medical situation, you should go to the ER to receive wound treatment (which may include stitches). But since emergency room visits now number 110 million every year, you may want to go elsewhere for treatment if it’s not a true emergency. If you’re wondering where to get stitches other than the ER, you can go to your local walk in clinic in many cases. Your regular physician or surgical doctor can also perform this treatment.
How do I care for a wound closed with stitches?
After you have figured out where to get stitches and had this treatment performed by a medical professional, you’ll need to care for your healing wound properly. Keep the area dry for at least the first day or two, making sure to check with your doctor as to when you can get the area wet. After that period, you should clean around the wound twice per day. Do not use anything containing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to clean it, as this can slow down healing. You can cover the wound with petroleum jelly and a bandage, making sure to change it every 24 hours or if it gets dirty/wet. Do not itch the wound or engage in activities that could cause it to reopen. Elevate the body part on a pillow when sitting on lying down to reduce swelling. Follow all medical instructions you receive, as a rule.
How long will it take for my wound to heal?
Every wound will heal in its own time, but stitches will typically be removed within 14 days. However, the location of your wound, lifestyle factors (like smoking or steroid use), or even other health conditions (like diabetes or low protein levels) can impact the healing process. Slower healing times can result in infections, in certain cases. Your urgent care doctor or personal physician can advise you further on when you can expect your stitches to be taken out.
How do I care for my wound once the stitches are removed?
Knowing where to get stitches and how to take care of them can be difficult enough, but you’ll also need to know how to care for your wound after having your stitches removed. Do not forcibly remove medical tape and make sure to protect your wound, especially if it’s not fully healed. The best way to do this is by wearing a clean bandage and to clean the wound area as directed. If you are left with a scar after your wound is healed, you should use sunscreen to protect it from sun damage.
How can I tell if I need additional medical care?
Sometimes, getting stitches is actually the easy part. During the healing process, you may require additional medical attention. You should head back to urgent care or even go to the ER if your wound splits open; you have limited mobility or numbness in the affected area; your wound is red, swollen, warm, leaking puss, smells foul, or has red streaks emanating from it; you have a fever and chills; or your pain has gotten worse. These situations should not be ignored, as they can be a sign of infection.
If you sustain a serious injury that may require stitches, a quick trip to your urgent care clinic can provide you with the treatment you need. To find out more, please contact us today.