What are Skin Closure Strips?
Skin closure strips are a relatively new alternative to stitches. They are used to comfortably secure, close and support small and long cuts and wounds while promoting fast natural healing. The strips themselves hold the lacerated skin firmly together while the breathable bandage creates a moist environment while protecting the wound from dirt, water, and germs. These kinds of sutures also help prevent scarring and risk of infection.
What types of wounds are they used on?
These can be used on small and long cuts that need more support and are deeper or bleeding more profusely than a minor wound. In the case of animal bites, deep or puncture wounds, serious burns, and infected wounds always consult a doctor before applying the skin closure strips. Skin closure strips are not to be used over large areas of the body, or near the eyes. In medical emergencies always consult a doctor first.
How do I apply and care for them?
First stop bleeding and then gently cleanse the wound and surrounding area (about 3 inches in each direction) with water before patting completely dry. For strips and bandage to work the skin needs to be free of oils, creams, and dirt. If you cannot clean out the wound do not use these strips.
Next apply strips as follows
Hold the strips the long way and remove from package.
Remove the backing from one end of the strips and firmly place down next to and in the opposite direction of the wound.
Line up the skin edges of the cut and, after removing the center piece of backing paper, place firmly (but gently) across the pulled together skin.
Once secure remove the last piece of backing and place down on skin on other side of wound.
The strips should be tight, but comfortable- too tight will only delay healing and cause further damage such as skin shearing and blistering.
Next remove bandage from its package and after removing the backing place over the wound in the opposite direction of the strips.
Change the bandage covering the strips daily or as needed, but leave the strips as they are. They will remain in place even when the covering bandage is removed.
Do not use for longer than one week unless advised by doctor.
If you have even a small worry that the wound could need stitches, or if the wound is bleeding profusely (even after skin closure has been applied), was caused by an animal bite, serious burn, or a puncture consult your doctor as soon as possible. If the wound becomes infected, swells, itches, is abnormally painful, has a burning sensation contact a doctor immediately and discontinue use.
Skin closure strips are also helpful after surgery or after stitches or staples have been removed. They provide extra support for the newly healed skin around the injured area.
Removing the strips is also easy but should be done with care. Once you reach the wound site be extra careful. Lifting the strips from one end increases the risk of reopening the wound. Instead try holding each end of the strip and removing them at an even slow pace, this will remove some of the stress on the new skin and lower your chances of reopening the wound.
*** Before administering any first aid to anyone outside your family, be aware of your rights and responsibilities: The Good Samaritan Law. ***