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Steri Strip Adhesive Reaction/Irritation

Kelly S.
on 9/16/09 12:30 pm
Did anyone else have a reaction when their steri strips came off after surgery?  I mean those small band-aids that butterfly your incisions.  Mine were practically falling off, so I removed them all only have have this red, bumpy, and extremely itchy rash where they once were.  It's so funny - the rash is exactly a rectangle where the strips once were.  Did anyone else run into this post-op?  I'm not allergic to anything, so this really surprised me.  Any tips on an ointment or topical creams to reduce the irritation and inflammation?  I'm sure that it will go away shortly, but I figured someone might have some helpful advice.

Sandy E.
on 9/16/09 12:35 pm
I had the same reaction.  I knew I would though because my skin is very sensitive -  so that helped.  The hospital put neosporin on mine and they cleared up.
on 9/16/09 12:42 pm - Palmer, AK
I did too!  And like you I am not allergic to anything, nor do I have extremly sensitive skin.

Neosporin is good, or they also gave me hydrocortisone cream.  Either one should do the trick!
on 9/16/09 12:49 pm
OMG yes, and yes more!  I had a reaction.  My skin doc said wash with liquid antibateriel soap for 2 weeks.  I had blisters and it was soooooo itchy.  I was allowed to have a dry heat pad on low to help with the itching.  Cut your nails down too.  It will be dry and flakey, I was told to keep the area clean and dry.  if I must rub, rub gently with a t-shirt over the blistered spots.  Oh bless your little heart.  I suggest dry heat pad, any cracking report immediatley to your dr. and keep those nails trimmed.  It will stop eventually.  I had open RNY so my doc said the healing process will take a good 6 months to a year to be properly heal ALL the way.  I was grumpy, but I had to go to a skin doctor to help remove all the bad skin, it was pretty nasty. 
on 9/16/09 1:15 pm - San Angelo, TX
RNY on 08/03/09 with
I had the same reaction.  They lasted two weeks and my rash even ended up spreading down my leg cause I was itching all over.  I used Benadryl cream.  That helped. I also used ice packs to help as well.  Good Luck.  I feel for you!

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on 9/16/09 1:17 pm - FOREST FALLS, CA
RNY on 10/27/08 with
I got big blisters - they were actually worse than my incision sites.  LOL 

Kelly S.
on 9/16/09 1:25 pm
I know, right?!  My incisions don't hurt as much as the rash does!?!

Thank you all for your advice!  I have both neosporin and some other cream for my kids.  I will give them a try.  Also, I think I'll do the ice thing, too!


michelle T.
on 9/17/09 8:23 pm
dr q gave me wipe off packet that really gets the adhesive stuff left behind.

Stacy H.
on 9/16/09 1:31 pm - Kansas, IL
RNY on 12/08/09 with
I had the very same reaction when i had to have vericose veins operated on several years ago. I found I was allergic to Benzoin- the topical solution they put at incision sites before placing the steri-strips. DO NOT WAIT TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR! I had severe blisters and rash for months. The irritation of the skin near the incisions caused excess scarring tissue and infections because the incisions did not heal properly.

When I went to the vascular surgeon, the attending that was in the surgery identified the reaction because he administered the medicine with a roller which left the perfect rectangle shapes over the incision areas. I also had one place where the solution ran down my leg and it left a long line to the back of my leg.

Don't ignore it... call your doctor.
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on 9/16/09 6:11 pm
yep i was itchy as all hell. Cream is good and benedryl helped too.....but it makes you sleepy so maybe only at bedtime :)
on 9/16/09 8:32 pm - New Milford, PA
so glad you posted this!  My first one came off last night and was very itchy.  I thought maybe it was because my incision is now exposed but now the others are starting to itch as well.  (lap RNY so 5 incisions plus the drain spot).  The drain spot is the only one that doesn't itch and is the only one that didn't have a steri strip on it....

I think I'm going to take the others off tonight.  Was worried it wasn't long enough to heal yet, but the first incision is completely closed and looks fine...

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on 9/16/09 10:37 pm - Suffern, NY

I had 5 incisions that were driving me nuts.  All of them were broken out from the steristrips - they were so red, almost purple the exact shape of the strips.  I had to take them off early because I couldn't take the itching anymore.  I tried everything to stop the itching.  It kept me up at night - I was besides myself.  I was taking antihistamines every 4 hours and putting benedryl cream on them plus cornstarch with very little success.  Finally I went to my allergist who said he thought it was a combination of a slight infection along with an allergic reaction.  He had me put on Bactroban ointment (prescription bacitracin) and a very strong cortisone cream.  After a week, it finally cleared up.  It was a nightmare.


Kelly S.
on 9/17/09 6:09 am
Wow - thanks for the info!  I might call the office and see what they say.  I'm sure that they run across this often if so many other people on OH had this experience, too.  I tried hydrocortizone cream last night before bed and it may have taken a slight edge off.  But, I'm itchy again as hell today... 

Thanks for all of your insight!
on 9/17/09 6:16 am - GA
I knew going in that I could not use the steri strips or the adhesive, had the alert band on and it was written on the front of my chart. Did they pay attention to that? NO!!!! 3 days after surgery, I had large blisters around 5 little incision holes. On top of this, I didn't know it but I am now allergic to soy, so I'm drinking 3x a day protein drink, with soy, and I have huge welts/rash that started on my stomach, spread up and down. Talk about itching. As I've stated before, my dr office was no help, despite calling and even going there. I had to self diagnose. My daughter covered me in hydrocortisone cream, then I wore a wife-beater as it was somewhat tight. Took bendryl at night as a 1/4 spoon of the children's dose knocks me out for hours.
Thankfully it's healed, just some dryness left which I put cream on daily.
on 9/17/09 9:21 am - Eustis, FL
OMG!  YES!!  And I blistered.  Believe it or not the scars from the steri strips are worse that from my incisions!