If you’ve just had surgery, it’s safe to assume that you need some time to recuperate. As a result, you might might not have the strength or energy to attend to basic self-care. Nonetheless, very few things feel better than being clean when you don’t feel well. Although bathing after surgery can be a challenge, it is doable. While you will want to take the proper precautions laid out by your doctor, bathing after surgery is usually allowed and encouraged. Read on to learn more.
Use Caution When Bathing After a Procedure
First, you should wait for at least 48 hours following your surgery to bathe. This is simply to prevent infection, as you are most vulnerable right after surgery. Give your surgical site time to build a protective layer before you proceed. After that, it’s safe to get your wounds wet unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.
When you bathe, be sure to take a shower rather than a bath. While your wounds are safe to get wet after 48 hours, it is not a good idea to soak them; otherwise, the protective layer your body has grown over your wound will break and your wound will once again be at an increased risk for developing an infection.
Cleaning your surgical site should be done with care. Don’t scrub the area with a sponge, as it might be painful and/or tear one of your sutures, staples, or glue lines. Wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning your wound in the shower using a mild soap (if your doctor allows it) and your fingertips. Do not use scrubbing gels or scented cleansers.
When in Doubt, Ask for Help
Following surgery, your movement might be restricted either due to the surgery itself or due to the pain medication you’re taking. If you don’t feel completely confident in your balance and wellbeing, have someone you trust provide you with assistance, at least while getting into or out of the shower.
While it might be embarrassing, a loved one is not going to mind lending a helping hand. It’s better to be a little uncomfortable than to risk a fall, which could very easily cause more injury than the surgery itself. If you do not have someone you trust with such an important task, try to use a shower seat or bench.
Once you have completed bathing, dry off as soon as possible with a clean towel. When you dry your surgical site, dab the area gently and carefully until the skin is dry. Again, don’t scrub the area until it has had sufficient time to heal following your procedure. Avoid using lotions around the surgical site unless you’re applying medication prescribed by your doctor.
Even minor surgery takes time and care in order to heal properly. Take all the necessary steps to ensure your quickest recovery.