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Following any kind of surgery, your first priority is to recover as quickly as possible. So naturally, you get home, get cozy in a pair of sweat pants and settle in the couch or your bed.

Of course, in order to get back to normal, you need to ensure your surgery wound heals completely. Some things you can do during recovery can help! Others can have the opposite effect.

As you prepare to recover from your surgery, here are some do’s and don’ts of proper and effective wound care.

Do…

Eat healthily

Many think treating a surgery wound resolves solely around the treatment of the wound itself. However, treatment of the body as a whole is equally important. During recovery from surgery, make an effort to eat as many healthy foods as possible.

Fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and other similar foods are high in vitamins and minerals like calories, protein and vitamins A and C that are essential to maintaining a healthy immune system, avoiding infections, promoting tissue growth and helping your body recover as quickly as possible.

Change bandages regularly

Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how frequent to change the bandages of your wound and it is important that you follow these instructions to a T. Following a doctor’s instructions… what a concept!

Joking aside, failing to regularly change dirty or soiled bandages of a surgery wound is a serious offense. Dirty bandages can hinder the healing process and are a common cause of infection following surgery. For most successful recovery from surgery, keep bandages and wrapping as clean as possible and never reuse dressing.

Keep the wound and surrounding area clean

Whenever you change your wound bandages, make sure the wound itself is also properly cleaned. Even if your doctor doesn’t require changing bandages every day, it is important to keep the surrounding area clean as well to best combat bacteria and possible infection sources.

Our in-house Dakin’s Solution is effective in cleaning and disinfecting wounds but without the drawback of causing wound and skin irritation like other similar solutions. Be sure to consult your doctor about the best cleaning practices.

Don’t…

Try to do too much

Following your surgery, you may be recommended to get lots of rest and spend a good amount of time in bed or resting on the couch. This period of inactivity may cause you to feel restless and eager to get back to work, school or normal activities. This is completely normal, but it is important to know your limitations.

Follow your doctor’s recommendations and take it as easy as possible until you are cleared to resume your normal routine. Any strenuous activity attempted too early can cause potential setbacks in your recovery such as the wound reopening or infection. So, save the yard work, heavy workouts and other chores until after you are feeling better.

Use lotions or cream on the wound

While keeping a surgery wound clean is important and some amount of moisture is healthy for a wound during the healing process, one thing you shouldn’t do is use lotion, creams or other herbal remedies on your wound.

While the moisture may help keep your skin from drying and help provide a little extra comfort, but some creams and lotions may only cause irritation to the wound. Some products, however, are acceptable, so get confirmation from your doctor before using your favorite lotions.

Stay quiet if something seems wrong

If during the course of your recovery you experience swelling, redness, bleeding or discharge from your wound or your develop a fever, call your doctor immediately! These can all be common symptoms of an infection and need to be treated right away.

Following surgery, your body can often times be vulnerable to post-surgery setbacks. This is no time to “tough it out”. If something feels wrong, get yourself checked out by your doctor. Even if its nothing serious, it is better to be safe than sorry.