When do you need stitches?

By Kynzi Cole

What should I do before I get stitches?

Getting stitches can be scary, but not knowing what to do before can be even more. Stitches serve two purposes, promoting health, and to reduce scarring when getting stitches. Many decisions must be made after cutting yourself, like how did the cut happen and how does it look. But before you even think about that, the first thing to do is clean the cut, the best thing to use is water and mild soap but saline solution works as well. After that is when you make your decisions. The first 3 things to determine are width ( gaping and can not be pinched closed easily), depth ( you can see the fatty tissue under the skin), and location ( a place where scarring may be an issue or can cause other health problems). One of the biggest risks of being cut is excessive bleeding. To prevent this it may help to raise the cut above your heart level but putting pressure on it works the best. If the bleeding does not subside see medical care immediately. If the cut is an animal bite, you are diabetic, or there is dirt in the cut that will not come out, you should always go to the doctor since it could cause serious problems.
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Getting stitches and the procedure.

Feeling anxious is natural when getting stitches, but the best thing to do is stay calm. The goal doctors try to achieve from stitches is to pierce the skin back together. When the doctor first takes a look he will determine if you really do need stitches. Next if you do need stitches, the doctor will clean and numb the area with an anesthetic similar to what a dentist uses. Lastly he/she will stitch the wound closed. Sometimes the doctor will remove dead tissue to help healing. There are a couple different threads that doctors use like nylon, but most commonly a thread that dissolves into the skin is used. After the procedure the doctor may prescribe an antibiotic or other medication to stop infection.
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Caring for your stitches.

Caring for your stitches may seem hard but if you follow these simple rules, taking care of them will be a breeze. When dressing your wound you should use a bandage that is a good size to cover all of the wound. You should change it every 12 hours to keep it cleaner and prevent infection. You should always use a bandage if the wound is draining or is rubbing against your clothes. Your stitches will itch, but whatever you do, do not scratch them. While taking care of your stitches make sure you keep them dry (do not go swimming) , and stay out of mud, dirt, and sand. Some signs of infection are fever, swelling, numbness, and red streaks around the wound. Most stitches are removed anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, it all depends on the location of the wound. It takes a couple months for the wound to fully heal and scar.
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Vocabulary

Anesthetic: A substance that that induces insensitivity to pain.


Dissolve: When a solid turns into a liquid.


Suture: a stitch or row of stitches holding together the edges of a wound or surgical incision.