Steri-strips are best described as slender pieces of adhesive and hypoallergenic tape that are typically used in securing surgical incisions or lacerations together. They can be applied alone or together with stitches or staples. Take note that Steri-strips are usually place on the affected area right after surgery or a medical procedure. The doctor can provide you with extra Steri-strips so that you can change and care for the incision or laceration at home. If you want to learn more about wound care, specifically lacerations and incisions, click here.
It is important to note that these strips have been utilized in wound care for many years. Steri-strips are also referred to as an artificial scab on the wound area. These strips are not always removed but allowed to come off on their own once the underlying wound have properly healed.
How to use Steri-strips
- The affected area must be cleaned. You have to use warm water and antibacterial soap to clean the incision or laceration as well as the surrounding area. You can use gauze when cleaning the area.
- Pat the area dry thoroughly and in a gentle manner by using clean gauze.
- Once the affected area is dry, take out the Steri-strip from its packaging. Hold on to the end of the strip and lift it up off from the card.
- Apply the Steri-strip at the end of the laceration or incision. With your opposite hand, push the edges of the incision together. Press firmly the Steri-strip in place. Make sure that the strip must be positioned across the wound. Additionally, also make sure that the ends of the strip should touch the surrounding skin, not on the wound itself.
- You can apply additional strips. They must be positioned one-eighth of an inch away from each other until the entire laceration or incision has been covered.
For added security, you can apply an extra Steri-strip or a piece of medical tape on the ends of the wound. Just make sure that the extra pieces must run in a parallel manner to the laceration or incision.
Removing a Steri-strip
In most cases, the doctor will inform you that the Steri-strips can be removed at home. When removing Steri-strips, there are steps that you should be familiar with.
- Inspect the ends of the Steri-strips to check if they are starting to loosen up. You might use tweezers to hold on to the ends.
- Pull off slowly the Steri-strip and with the direction of the wound. Do not pull across the wound in order to prevent disrupting the healing process of the scar. Even though the strips can be placed across the wound in any direction, pulling them across the wound during removal will cause the edges of the wound to lift.
- You have to soak the area with water before removing the Steri-strips if they appear to be stuck tightly. The water will help loosen up the adhesive.
Always remember not to force off the Steri-strips since this might open up the wound again. Additionally, avoid getting the strips wet until they are ready to be removed.