There are tens of millions of operations performed in the U.S. in any given year, but the most important ones are those performed on our loved ones. Over 100,000 of these surgeries result in infections due to improper care of the wound after the surgery was completed. While you probably know that it’s best to rest and ease back into your routine after any kind of surgery, these 4 tips will help you or your loved one reduce the risk of infection and be as comfortable as possible after a surgical procedure.
1. Limit the Risk of Contamination
Few people wash their hands correctly, and this is one of the key ways that germs can be introduced into the wound. Wash hands with antibacterial soap and very warm water for at least 30 seconds. You should also clean under your nails and fully dry your hands before doing any type of wound care. Wash your hands again after completing your care.
2. Keep the Site Clean
Unless otherwise instructed by your physician, you should be able to gently clean the wound with a soft cloth or gauze pad mixed in a solution of sterile water and salt. While it may seem counterintuitive, don’t use alcohol, peroxide or antibacterial soaps as they can damage the delicate skin that is regrowing around the wound.
3. Be as Gentle as Possible
As you’re cleaning your wound or showering, keep your wound as dry as possible and avoid scrubbing or rubbing at the incision. Avoid using any type of lotion or powders on the wound unless you have something specifically recommended by your healthcare provider. As you’re healing, a shower or sponge bath is better than a full bath.
4. Look for Signs of Infection
During the healing process, watch carefully for any signs of infection such as unexpected redness, swelling or an incision that is hot to the touch. Also, be aware of excessive or increasing levels of pain or fever in the patient. All of these should be immediately reported to your healthcare provider.
With proper care, the majority of wounds will heal over time. Longer term, keep your incision out of direct sun as the new skin will be more sensitive than you might expect. When your loved one needs additional assistance after surgery, the professionals at Santé are trained to provide long-term and short-term rehabilitation services for our guests. We also offer respectful in-home care for patients whose families may need additional support. Contact us today at 480-563-2402 to learn more about the services that we offer.