Following these directions will speed up the healing process of a wound with stitches and help prevent infection. About 1 in 100 wounds will become infected no matter what you or the doctor does.

Care of a wound with stitches

Leave the bandage on for 24 hours (remove the day after surgery). Wash the wound 2 times a day with hydrogen peroxide 3%. After washing with hydrogen peroxide, apply Polysporin ointment to the wound and cover with a Band-Aid.

Polysporin is an antibiotic ointment and is available over the counter without a prescription. Antibiotic ointments help prevent infection of the wound and also keep the bandage from sticking to the wound surface.

There is no problem taking a shower, but keep the wound covered when bathing and clean it afterwards as directed above.

If your wound is on the scalp, it is not necessary to cover it with a bandage. Simply clean the wound as instructed above and apply Polysporin. Shampooing the scalp is not a problem, but be gentle to the wound site.

Studies show that wounds covered with a dressing heal faster than uncovered wounds. It is an old wive’s tale that uncovered wounds heal faster.

Discomfort, swelling and bruising occur between 6-20 hours after surgery. If painful, take Tylenol. Also if the pain is persistent, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Do not take aspirin or alcohol for three days after the surgery because these will make the blood thin (easier to bleed).

Removing stitches is virtually painless and is done 7-14 days after surgery, depending on the location and type of surgery which was performed.

Wound Care Precautions

If the skin around the wound becomes red, swollen and painful, you may have an infected wound. Call and make an appointment with your doctor immediately.

It is normal for the wound to drain small amounts of clear or red fluid. If the wound drains white-yellow fluid or pus call a doctor right away. Failure to call about an infected wound can have serious consequences.

If the wound starts to bleed, hold gauze or cotton over the area and apply pressure for 10 minutes. If the wound continues to bleed, contact your doctor.

It is recommended not to swim in chlorinated or other water no matter where the wound site is.

Wounds on the face usually heal in one to two weeks. Wounds on the arms, trunk and upper legs heal in about three weeks. Wounds on the lower legs, especially in people over forty, can take up to 3 months to heal. If you are not certain if your wound is healing, please make an appointment with your physician or other qualified medical professional.

Those are the wound care basics and should help you heal safely and quickly. Your doctor may advise you otherwise, so make sure you follow those directions as ours are general in nature.