Steri-strips are sterile pieces of medical tape used to close wounds and help the edges grow back together. Steri-strips keep the wound clean and protected while it heals. Steri-strips usually fall off on their own in about 7 to 10 days.


    Return to the emergency department if:

    • You have a fever.

    • You see red streaks on your skin starting at the wound.

    • Your wound has a foul smell or is draining fluid or pus.

    • Your wound is red, swollen, and warm to the touch.

    • Your wound opens or comes apart.

    Contact your healthcare provider if:

    • The skin under and around the steri-strips itches or is not comfortable.

    • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

    How to use steri-strips: 

    Always wash your hands before you care for your wound. This will help prevent infection. Clean and dry the skin around your wound before you put on new steri-strips.

    • Care for the wound as directed. Do not bathe for 24 hours. After 24 hours, wash around the area gently as directed. Pat the area dry with a clean towel, or let it air dry. Do not rub the area with a towel to dry it. Check the wound for signs of infection, such as swelling or pus.

    • Only remove the steri-strips if directed. Your healthcare provider may want you to remove the steri-strips after a certain number of days. Do not remove them early, even if they are causing itching or discomfort. If you are directed to remove the steri-strips, pull gently. You might cause the wound to open if you pull hard. Hold the skin down as you slowly and gently remove the strips.

    • Apply new steri-strips as directed. 

       ○ Start at the middle of the wound. 

       ○ Gently bring the edges of the wound together and place the middle of the steri-strip on the wound. 

       ○ Do not stretch the steri-strip. 

       ○ Smooth the ends of the steri-strip down onto your skin. 

       ○ Add more steri-strips as needed for the rest of the wound. 

       ○ Leave small gaps between strips so you do not completely cover the wound. Fluid from the wound may build under the strips if you completely cover it. The fluid may make the strips peel. 

       ○ Your healthcare provider may recommend that you add steri-strips down the ends of the pieces you placed across the wound. This will help keep the steri-strips in place as you move.

    • Do not scrub or pick at the steri-strips. This can cause your wound to open. Trim the edges of the strips if they start to curl. Then press the ends firmly onto your skin.

    Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed: Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

    © 2017 Truven Health Analytics LLC All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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