Health Tip: Keep Stitches Clean and Dry

(HealthDay News) -- Stitches are used to close deep cuts in the skin. They need to be properly cared for to prevent significant scarring and infection.

Here are suggestions on caring for stitches, courtesy of the American Academy of Family Physicians:

  • Keep the stitches clean and dry. You should be able to wash the area within one to three days of getting the stitches.
  • If recommended by your doctor, after 24 hours, gently clean the wound with water, thoroughly dry, and re-bandage it.
  • Gently wash off the dirt and crust that forms over the stitches.
  • If a light, yellow fluid drains from the wound, you may need to keep it covered.
  • With your doctor's approval, use a bit of antibiotic ointment on the wound to reduce the risk of infection.
  • To reduce pain and swelling, for up to two days after getting the stitches, try to keep the wound elevated above your heart as much as possible.

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