Like most people coming out of a surgical procedure, you probably feel a sense of relief knowing that you’re safe and on the road to recovery. While you might be eager to get home and start resting up, there are a couple of things you need to monitor when you’re released from the hospital. One of these things, perhaps the most important, is your incision site. In order to properly recover, you need to allow your incision to heal in an optimal environment. If you want to accelerate your recovery, there are a few actions you can take to prevent infection.
Infection Prevention at Home
Infection prevention is pretty straightforward when it comes to your at-home recovery. First, be sure to wash your hands frequently, and unless your checking or cleaning your incision, avoid touching it. If you have a trusted caregiver assisting you during your recovery, make sure that they wash their hands before handling your surgical site. Keep your bedding clean and change your clothes regularly.
Take any medication you’ve been prescribed as directed during your recovery. If your doctor recommends that your surgical site be covered during the healing process, be sure to apply fresh dressing as needed. Do not apply ointments or any other products unless you’ve been instructed to by a medical professional.
Getting adequate rest is another great line of defense against infection. While your body is trying to heal, it’s normal to require more rest than someone who has not had surgery.
Signs of Infection Following Surgery
Even if you’re following your doctor’s recovery orders exactly, an infection may still occur. If you notice any of the following signs, contact a medical professional as soon as possible.
- If you notice pus around your surgical site, or the color of normal drainage has changed, sometimes accompanied by an unpleasant smell.
- The surgical site has become inflamed, swelling has increased, or the wound feels hot to the touch.
- Your surgical site hurts more than usual.
- You have a fever, which may or may not be accompanied by chills.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Even though you might not be able to resume an active lifestyle until you have recovered completely, there are still healthy choices you can make to accelerate the healing process. Avoid smoking, stick to a healthy diet involving high-protein foods, and drink plenty of water. Taking proper care of yourself and ensuring that you’re absorbing adequate vitamins and nutrients is a surefire way to recover quickly and completely.