Although your summer plans may have changed this year due to the COVID-19 virus, you may still be planning a trip to the beach, pool or lake. If you have recently had or have an upcoming surgery, it’s important to note that the summer months can pose a special challenge for care of a surgical incision. Read more for helpful tips to ensure that you take proper precautions when caring for your incision.
Keep your hands clean
While you are most likely washing your hands more than usual these days, many bacteria that cause infection are spread by the hands. These bacteria can live on healthy skin and are more common during the summer months. Wash your hands with soap or water or use an alcohol-based hand rub (i.e. Purell) regularly, especially before changing your wound dressing or touching your wound.
Avoid water exposure
Although it may be tempting to enjoy the ocean, pool, or other water sources in the summer months, you should refrain from entering water until your surgeon says it is okay. This is particularly important in the first two weeks after surgery, and if your incision is open or draining fluid.
Avoid extremes in heat and humidity
Increased sweating during the summer months can result in increased quantities of bacteria on the skin, which in turn can pose a risk to incision healing. Practice good hygiene by showering as directed by your physician, wearing clean clothes each day and changing bed sheets regularly. Avoid shaving the affected limb until your surgeon says it is okay.
If you have any questions about caring for your wound, contact your surgeon’s office.