Know When a Cut Needs Stitches
Stitches are most commonly needed for these reasons:
* To close a wound that is too big to be closed otherwise
* To speed healing
* To prevent infection
* To prevent or reduce scarring after the wound heals
Examine the depth of the wound:
If it is more than 1/4 inch deep, it may need stitching. If it’s deep enough that you can see yellow fatty tissue, or even bone, see a doctor for treatment.
Next, note the width of the wound:
If the edges of the wound need to be pulled together to cover a gap of exposed tissue, stitches may be required. In this case, stitches can speed the healing process.
Look at the location of the wound:
If it is located on an area of the body where a lot of movement is involved, it will most likely need stitching to prevent re-opening of the wound caused by physical activity that stretches the skin.
Is a tetanus shot needed?
Depending on the cause of the wound, such as an animal bite or dirty object, a tetanus shot may be required. Generally tetanus shots are good for 10 years before the need for re-vaccination. Ask your doctor.
Butterfly bandages are a great alternative to close smaller wounds.
As always, clean all wounds and watch for signs of infection. If in doubt, seek qualified medical treatment.
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