Care of the sutured (stitches) or glued wounds

Care of the sutured (stitches) or glued wound

If your child has had a cut they may require the wound to be either sutured (stitched) or glued back together. Below provides information on how to care for your child’s wound at home.

Why does the wound need to be closed?

Where the wound edges can be pushed back together easily, it is advantageous to close the wound to aid healing. Depending on the location and depth of the cut, steristrips (thin plasters), glue, dissolvable stitches’ or stitches’ that need to be removed will be used.

The exception is where the wound had been caused by an animal bite or is more than 12-24 hours old. These wounds have an increased risk of infection and typically have alternate wound dressing.

How should I care for the wound at home?

  •  A glued wound should ideally be kept dry for 2 days.
  • sutured wound should ideally be kept dry for 5 days.
  • Keeping the wound clean and dry allows healing to progress.
  • Use simple pain relief (unless otherwise advised) such as paracetamol or ibuprofen if your child experiences pain in the following days.
  •  Leave any steristrips and/or dressings in place until advised by your doctor/nurse. If the steristrips start to lift, trim the edges, but do not pull off as the wound may open up again. If the steristrips or dressing come off and the wound is clean and dry you do not need to do anything.

For glued wounds:

  • After 2 days your child can have a shower or a bath but avoid soaking or scrubbing the wound for at least 7 days to allow the wound to fully heal.
  • Swimming should be avoided for the first 7 days.
  • Remember to let steristrips fall off naturally. The glue may take up to 3 weeks to fall off once the wound is healed.
  • Do not use creams or ointments on the wound. These may cause the glue to soften and the wound to reopen.

For dissolvable stitches:

  • After 5 days your child can wash as normal.
  • Dissolvable stitches will disappear by themselves and do not need removal. This may take up to 2 weeks.

For non-dissolvable stitches:

  • After 5 days your child can wash as normal.
  • Your doctor will tell you when the stitches should be removed and you need to arrange an appointment at your GP practice with a practice nurse. It is important to not leave stitches in for longer than recommended as this may increase scarring of the area.
  • Do not go swimming until the stitches have been removed and the wound is fully healed.
  • Try to not let your child pick at any scabs/crusts/dressings. These will come away once the wound is healed.

If your child has any of the following contact your GP or 111 for advise:

  • Increasing and spreading redness around the wound which is warm to touch.
  • Increasing pain or discomfort, not relieved with simple pain relief medicines.
  • The wound is producing discoloured ooze (creamy, green, brown).
  • If the wound opens or is bleeding.
  • You have any other concerns.
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