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Do First Aid Kits Have Stitches? What You Need to Know

Some wounds need to be stitched during an emergency depending on their severity, and this article will talk about what you need to know about stitches.

Are stitches included in first aid kits and what should you do if a wound requires them?

Short Answer: Stitches are generally not included in first aid kits as it is intended for trained professionals

  • With minimal training you can stitch a wound with a high quality kit 
  • You need to sterilize, sanitize, stitch and then dress the wound 
  • Stitches are the process of closing the wound, after it has been sutured
  • If the cut is deeper or longer than half an inch it needs stitches

Introduction to Stitches and Their Role in Wound Care

Stitches are a common medical procedure used to close wounds or incisions. They play a vital role in the healing process by bringing together the edges of a wound, promoting faster healing.

They are typically performed by healthcare professionals, such as doctors or specially trained nurses in a clinical setting.

Stitches are generally used for various types of wounds, such as:

  • Lacerations 
  • Surgical incisions
  • Deep cuts that require proper alignment for proper healing

They are also employed to:

  • Provide strength and support to wound during healing process 
  • Minimize scarring 
  • Control bleeding

Stitches may be accompanied by the use of local anesthesia to numb the area before the procedure. This is so that the patient experiences minimal discomfort or pain during the stitching process.

Let’s take a look some of they key roles of stitches in wound care:

Minimization of scarring

Properly placed stitches can help to minimize scarring by ensuring the wound heals with minimal tension.

By closing the wound neatly and evenly, they have a more cosmetically pleasing outcome.

Support and stability

They provide support and stability to the wound site, especially for deeper and larger wounds.

It holds the tissue in place, which prevents tension or movement that could hinder healing or cause complications.

Wound closure

Stitches are used to bring together the edges of a wound, aligning the tissues and creating a precise closure.

Protection against infection

Stitches create a barrier that helps to protect against external contaminants, such as dirt or bacteria.


Stitches are effective in controlling bleeding. By approximating the edges of blood vessels, they help to stop or reduce bleeding from the wound, allowing the body’s natural clotting mechanisms to take effect.

Note that the decision to use stitches may vary depending on the location, size and type of the wound, as well as the healthcare professional’s assessment.

The Importance of Knowing When Stitches Are Needed

Knowing when stitches are needed is extremely important for appropriate wound care and optimal healing.

Here are some reasons highlighting the importance of recognizing when stitches are necessary:

Wounds with exposed tissue or structure

If a wound exposes underlying tissue, muscle or other structures, stitches are necessary to protect these tissues and help with healing.

Facial or cosmetic areas

Wounds on the face or other cosmetic areas may benefit from stitches to achieve the best possible cosmetic outcome. It allows for precise wound closure and reduces the likelihood of noticeable scarring.

Control of bleeding

They are often required to control persistent bleeding. If a wound continues to bleed despite the direct pressure or other measures, seeking medical attention is crucial to assess the need for stitches and prevent excessive blood loss.

Deep or large wounds

Wounds that are deep, gaping or extend through multiple layers of tissue will need stitches for proper closure.

High-risk wounds or delayed healing

Certain individuals may have underlying medical conditions or factors that would impair wound healing.

In these cases, stitches may be necessary for additional support and for proper healing.

Tension on wound edges

Wounds under tension, such as those on joints or areas prone to movement, may benefit from stitches to reduce the tension on the wound edges.

This reduces the risk of wound dehiscence (reopening).

Note that not all wounds require stitches. Some superficial wounds, small cuts, or minor abrasions may heal with basic wound care, such as:

  • Cleaning 
  • Applying an antiseptic 
  • Covering it with a sterile dressing

However, if there is uncertainty about the need for stitches or concerns about a wound, seek medical attention for proper evaluation and guidance.

Can Stitches Be Found in First Aid Kits?

Stitches themselves are not typically found in standard first aid kits that are designed for personal or basic use. Stitches are a medical procedure that requires proper training and expertise to perform.

However, first aid kits may contain items that are related to wound care, such as sterile adhesive strips or butterfly bandages, which can be used to temporarily close small cuts or lacerations until medical help arrives.

In cases where stitches are necessary, it is best to let a professional take over, as a doctor or nurse will assess the wound and determine if stitches are required. Stitches are typically applied in a controlled medical setting using sterile equipment and materials.

While first aid kits may not contain actual stitches, they do have essential supplies for initial wound care, which include:

  • Antiseptic wipes 
  • Adhesive bandages 
  • Sterile dressings
  • Medical tape

These items can help clean and protect the wound until it receives the proper treatment it needs.

What to Do When a Wound Requires Stitches

When a wound is in need of stitches, the following steps will help you out:

Prepare the area

Clean the surrounding skin and the wound site with an antiseptic solution to minimize the risk of infection.

Numb the area

If necessary, a local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area of the wound.

This will ensure that the procedure is as painless as possible.

Assess the wound

Evaluate the size, depth and characteristics of the wound to determine the appropriate technique and materials for stitching.

Clean and irrigate the wound

Thoroughly clean the wound using sterile saline solution or other wound-cleansing solutions to remove any debris.

Choose type of stitch and stitch the wound

Select the right type of stitch based on the wound location, tension and individual patient factors.

Carefully insert the needle through the skin on one side of the wound, pass it through the deeper layers of tissue, and then bring it through the skin on the opposite side. Repeat the process until the wound is closed evenly.

Apply wound dressings

Once the stitches are in place, you may apply sterile dressings or adhesive strips to protect the wound.

Remember, attempting to apply stitches by yourself is not recommended, as it may lead to complications. The wound will need to be assessed by a medical professional.

You can read more information about bandages to use after stitches in our article A Summary of All Types of Available Bandages.

Antiseptic sprays are used when cleaning wounds, to read more about it, click here.

Related Questions

Can you let a wound heal without stitches?

Yes, certain wounds can heal without stitches, depending on their size, location and depth. For wounds that are left to heal without stitches, it’s important to keep the wound clean, and keep an eye out for any signs of infection.

Seek medical attention if there are concerns or if the wound is not healing as expected.

How long is the healing process for stitches?

The healing process for stitches can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the individual’s overall health and how well they follow post care instructions.

Generally, it could take approximately 1 to 3 weeks, but every person and every wound is unique, so healing time can differ.


Not all first aid kits include stitches, as they are generally done by professionals.

We hope you found the information about stitches in this blog helpful!


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