Stitches, Staples, or Skin Adhesive Strips

ExitCare ImageStitches (sutures), staples, and skin adhesive strips hold the skin together as it heals. They will usually be in place for 7 days or less.


  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you touch your wound.

  • Only take medicine as told by your doctor.

  • Cover your wound only if your doctor told you to. Otherwise, leave it open to air.

  • Do not get your stitches wet or dirty. If they get dirty, dab them gently with a clean washcloth. Wet the washcloth with soapy water. Do not rub. Pat them dry gently.

  • Do not put medicine or medicated cream on your stitches unless your doctor told you to.

  • Do not take out your own stitches or staples. Skin adhesive strips will fall off by themselves.

  • Do not pick at the wound. Picking can cause an infection.

  • Do not miss your follow-up appointment.

  • If you have problems or questions, call your doctor.


  • You have a temperature by mouth above 102° F (38.9° C), not controlled by medicine.

  • You have chills.

  • You have redness or pain around your stitches.

  • There is puffiness (swelling) around your stitches.

  • You notice fluid (drainage) from your stitches.

  • There is a bad smell coming from your wound.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

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