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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 6, 2022.

Steristrips are sterile pieces of medical tape used to close wounds and help the edges grow back together. Steristrips keep the wound clean and protected while it heals. Steristrips 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 steristrips itches or is not comfortable.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

How to use steristrips:

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 steristrips.

  • 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 steristrips if directed. Your healthcare provider may want you to remove the steristrips 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 steristrips, 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 steristrips as directed. Start at the middle of the wound. Gently bring the edges of the wound together and place the middle of the steristrip on the wound. Do not stretch the steristrip. Smooth the ends of the steristrip down onto your skin. Add more steristrips 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 steristrips down the ends of the pieces you placed across the wound. This will help keep the steristrips in place as you move.
  • Do not scrub or pick at the steristrips. 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 doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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