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After Surgery: Wound Infection Prevention Tips

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Until your surgical wound has healed completely, it is still vulnerable to infections and re-opening. NEBH is proud to have one of the lowest rates of postoperative infection in the country, and our team will do their work to lower your risk of infection, but it’s important for you to take care, too. Read below for tips on how to properly care for your surgical wound to promote healing.

Until your surgical wound has healed completely, it is still vulnerable to infections and re-opening. NEBH is proud to have one of the lowest rates of postoperative infection in the country, and our team will do their work to lower your risk of infection, but it’s important for you to take care, too. Read below for tips on how to properly care for your surgical wound to promote healing.

Before your surgery:

  • If you smoke, quit or reduce your smoking. Patients who smoke have a higher risk to develop infections.
  • Do not shave the area that will be operated on. A razor can make infection more likely to develop because it irritates the skin. If hair needs to be removed, doctors will take care of it at the hospital.
  • Tell your surgeon if you have any signs of cold, fever, or infection before your surgery. If you have symptoms, you may have to reschedule your surgery.
  • Notify you surgeon if you need dental treatment in advance of your surgery. Dental problems such as tooth decay could increase your risk of infection.
  • Take a shower or bath with antibacterial soap. Ask your doctor about when would be the best time to shower, either the night before or the morning of your surgery.

After your surgery:

  • DO NOT scrub or wash the incision wound until allowed by your surgeon.  Follow discharge instructions for “Care of the Surgical Wound”
  • DO NOT soak or wet the incision in bath water, pools, hot tubs, or other non-sterile water until your doctor gives you permission to do so after your follow-up appointment.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for 30-45 seconds before caring for your incision. Additionally, do not let friends or family touch the surgical wound or dressing, and ask them to wash their hands before visiting you.
  • Change your dressing in a quiet, clean place free of pets or small children.
  • Keep dirt away from the incision site.

Follow your doctor’s specific instructions on caring for your wound. If you experience signs of infection, such as a fever, chills, cloudy or smelly fluid draining from the wound, redness at incision site, or increasing pain, let your doctor know immediately. 

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