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A quick online search will instantly yield answers ranging from 1 week to 6 weeks. Usually, they are going to fall off on their own in 2-3 weeks. If they don’t you’ll need to double-check with your doctor before pulling them off on your own.
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What Are Steri Strips?
After your doctor removes the sutures or staples from your scar, they’ll cover it in several thin pieces of paper. These are called steri strips. They help hold the wound together and protect your scar.
Caring For Your Steri Strips
Before it’s time for them to come off, or they come off on their own, you’ll need to make sure that you provide proper care.
There are quite a few things you shouldn’t do. Likewise, there are a few things that you’ll need to do to make sure that your wound stays healthy.
Don’t Pull On Them
Most doctors recommend that you can take them off at 10 days. Some doctors like to wait a little longer as a precaution if the steri strips don’t fall off on their own.
Make sure that you listen to your doctor’s instructions, and don’t pull on the edges. If the edges start to slowly peel off, use a pair of small scissors to trim that part. Don’t pull the steri strip off simply because it is peeling.
Keep The Area Very Clean
It can be hard to wash the area surrounding your steri strips. If you’re concerned that you’re not doing a thorough job, pick up some small alcohol pads.
Clean the area twice daily with this to disinfect the skin. This will prevent bacteria from making it across the skin to your wound, which can cause an infection.
Don’t Touch The Area
As your wound heals, it can be itchy. It’s tempting to rub it or pick at it just a tiny bit to find relief.
However, this can introduce bacteria to the area, which can cause an infection. Instead, ask your doctor if applying a cold, dry compress is okay to find some relief.
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Check The Area For Signs Of Infection
If you have steri strips, you should be able to see if there is abnormal discharge from the wound through them. You don’t have to remove them to check the area for signs of infection.
Simply make sure that you look at the area thoroughly. If that’s difficult, use your phone to take a picture. If you notice any changes that are concerning, contact your doctor.
Definitely give your doctor a call if the area is more painful than before, has pus leaking from the wound, or is red and inflamed. These are all signs of an infection.
Can I Take A Shower With Steri Strips?
Yes, you can take a shower with steri strips. You can wash with a mild soap, like baby soap or another natural, gentle soap. Then, rinse carefully with lukewarm water.
Pat the area dry. Avoid rubbing it when you’re washing and drying. Be careful not to stand with your stomach directly under the stream of water for too long.
Although you can take a shower with these, it’s understandable if you don’t feel comfortable doing that just yet. If you’re nervous about getting the area wet, you can cover it with a waterproof dressing.
Try to avoid other tips that you’ll come across like using a plastic bag. These are not sterile and can expose the wound to bacteria.
Avoid Submerging Them In Water
Showers are fine, but you’ll need to avoid any activity that will completely submerge your steri strips in water. That means no baths, hot tubs, jacuzzi’s, etc. This can make them come off sooner, which will expose your wound too soon.
When Do Steri Strips Come Off?
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In most cases, these are going to fall off on their own. This should happen within 1-2 weeks. Most people that have a c-section don’t have to bother with them.
However, there is the occasional exception. Sometimes, if they don’t fall off, you’ll need to schedule a doctor’s appointment to have them removed. There are women that have done this at 2 weeks.
Others have simply waited until their 6-week check-up to have their doctor take them off. I have heard that waiting for the 6 weeks check-up to have them removed can be rather painful, though.
When In Doubt, Ask Your Doctor
If you’re not sure whether you should take them off yourself, don’t do it. Instead, give your doctor a call. If you take them off too early, or too roughly, it can make the wound re-open.
Then, you have to go through the process all over again. You’ll also greatly increase your chances of developing an infection. It can be tempting to take them off if they’re starting to peel a little bit but don’t do it.
Remember That Every Doctor Is Different
If your friend had a C-section and hers were removed by her doctor at 2 weeks, it can be frustrating that your doctor insists that you wait until 3 or 4 weeks.
However, there’s nothing wrong with a doctor taking extra precautions. Remember, they all do things differently.
C-Section Recovery Tips
Taking proper care of your steri strips is just one thing that you’ll need to do as you recover. Most people take approximately 6 weeks to make a full recovery from a C-section.
This means that you’ll need to take extra care of yourself until your doctor gives you the okay to do more, and lift heavier things. The first few weeks are the hardest, and then you’ll notice more improvement. During this time period you’ll need to:
- Keep everything for you and the baby nearby so you don’t have to move as much
- Get plenty of rest
- Eat and drink healthy items to promote healing
- Don’t lift anything heavier than your little one
If having friends or family stop by to pitch on housework or with the other children is an option, take it. Don’t be too shy to accept help when people offer it. Having a c-section is major surgery, and it will take some time before you’re back on your feet again.
Your steri-strips should fall off on their own. In most cases, this happens in 2-3 weeks. If it doesn’t contact your doctor and take their advice. It can be frustrating waiting for them to come off, but you’ll get through this!