Laceration Care, Adult

A laceration is a cut that goes through all layers of the skin. The cut goes into the tissue beneath the skin.

HOME CARE

For stitches (sutures) or staples:

  • Keep the cut clean and dry.

  • If you have a bandage (dressing), change it at least once a day. Change the bandage if it gets wet or dirty, or as told by your doctor.

  • Wash the cut with soap and water 2 times a day. Rinse the cut with water. Pat it dry with a clean towel.

  • Put a thin layer of medicated cream on the cut as told by your doctor.

  • You may shower after the first 24 hours. Do not soak the cut in water until the stitches are removed.

  • Only take medicines as told by your doctor.

  • Have your stitches or staples removed as told by your doctor.

For skin adhesive strips:

  • Keep the cut clean and dry.

  • Do not get the strips wet. You may take a bath, but be careful to keep the cut dry.

  • If the cut gets wet, pat it dry with a clean towel.

  • The strips will fall off on their own. Do not remove the strips that are still stuck to the cut.

For wound glue:

  • You may shower or take baths. Do not soak or scrub the cut. Do not swim. Avoid heavy sweating until the glue falls off on its own. After a shower or bath, pat the cut dry with a clean towel.

  • Do not put medicine on your cut until the glue falls off.

  • If you have a bandage, do not put tape over the glue.

  • Avoid lots of sunlight or tanning lamps until the glue falls off. Put sunscreen on the cut for the first year to reduce your scar.

  • The glue will fall off on its own. Do not pick at the glue.

You may need a tetanus shot if:

  • You cannot remember when you had your last tetanus shot.

  • You have never had a tetanus shot.

If you need a tetanus shot and you choose not to have one, you may get tetanus. Sickness from tetanus can be serious.

GET HELP RIGHT AWAY IF:

  • Your pain does not get better with medicine.

  • Your arm, hand, leg, or foot loses feeling (numbness) or changes color.

  • Your cut is bleeding.

  • Your joint feels weak, or you cannot use your joint.

  • You have painful lumps on your body.

  • Your cut is red, puffy (swollen), or painful.

  • You have a red line on the skin near the cut.

  • You have yellowish-white fluid (pus) coming from the cut.

  • You have a fever.

  • You have a bad smell coming from the cut or bandage.

  • Your cut breaks open before or after stitches are removed.

  • You notice something coming out of the cut, such as wood or glass.

  • You cannot move a finger or toe.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.